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Coffee giant Costa looks to move into Gorleston

PUBLISHED: 09:35 07 March 2014 | UPDATED: 13:59 07 March 2014

The Costa Coffee shop on Regent Road in Great Yarmouth.

Picture: James Bass

The Costa Coffee shop on Regent Road in Great Yarmouth. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk © 2014

A coffee shop giant is bidding to move into Gorleston’s high street providing another boost for the thriving thoroughfare.

Costa, the UK’s largest coffeehouse chain, has its eyes trained on a large unit in the middle of the busy shopping street and the takeover plan has sparked enthusiasm from surrounding businesses.

The multinational coffee giant, which recently opened in Great Yarmouth, is looking to move into the YMCA charity shop and has submitted a formal application to the borough council.

And the news of Costa’s bid for a share of the high street comes as bosses at Morrisons moved to quash rumours it was leaving the town.

There were fears the centrally-located supermarket could shut as rival chain Sainsbury’s prepares to open a new store in the out-of-town Beacon Park.

But Morrisons has dismissed the rumour. A spokesman said: “We do not have plans to close the store and Morrisons Gorleston will continue to trade as usual.”

Costa’s move into the town would follow other well known national brands including Subway and Greggs, which recently set up shop.

Tony Redpath, who works at Keiths butchers, thought it was encouraging to have another big name stake a claim in Gorleston.

He said: “It’s good news for Gorleston, anything that brings people down the high street is good.

“High streets all round the country have been dying a death over recent years because of supermarkets and out-of-town shopping centres, but Gorleston has got a lovely little high street.”

Jason Lewis, who works at Eclairs sandwich shop, added: “We have got a lot of eating and drinking outlets but Costa’s another one that’s completely different.

“There’s not many empty units now in the high street and that would make that side look very smart.”

Gorleston’s booming high street was shown as a shining example to communities secretary Eric Pickles when he visited the east coast in January.

The bustling thoroughfare is bucking the national average for empty shops and Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis said Costa’s plans to move in was another feather in the cap for the town.

“It’s a really good sign and backs up how well Gorleston is doing,” he added.

“It’s got an occupancy rate way above the national average and it reaffirms what a good town we have got, and it’s a credit to the traders there. They don’t look for hand-outs they just get on with it and do a good job.”

And rather than have a negative effect on resident coffee shops, Mr Lewis thought Costa would bring in more customers for all businesses.

He said: “I don’t think it will be a threat. Something like a Costa brings people in. I would think the coffee shops up the road will probably find they benefit from this.”

Costa, the second largest coffeehouse chain in the world behind Starbucks, was founded in London in 1971.

It now has 1,700 stores across 35 countries, including 1,375 stores in the UK and thousands more branded machines inside shops and other businesses.

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