Concerns have been raised over plans to bring a well-known coffee shop chain to Cockermouth.

Costa looks set to open its first store in the town as plans are under way to transform the old Natwest bank on Station Street into a coffee shop.

But some independent coffee shop owners in the town fear it will impact negatively on trade.

Racz Group, a franchisee of Costa, has lodged an application for advertisement consent with Allerdale Council.

The plans include an illuminated Costa Coffee sign on the front of the building, along with promotional posters.

The company says it aspires to bring “new business concepts in areas sometimes neglected by investment” and “to shake up the town we enter into”.

Manon Plouffe, who owns Wild Zuccini’s Bistro on Station Street, said: “I think it’s a shame that they chose a location where there’s already three of us on Station Street - me, VeeVa and Merienda.

“I knew that these big chains would infiltrate our town - we have no choice about that. It would have felt nicer if they had been a bit more thoughtful as to the premises they choose. There’s already a lot of us cafes.

“I think in terms of courtesy and forward thinking, that was definitely missing on their part and sadly, that will cause hostility in the town and most likely affect us small cafes that are already struggling to survive.”

Catherine Hetherington, who owns the New Bookshop in Main Street, which has its own cafe, said: “I think it will have an effect. Quite a lot of us are small, independent businesses.

“It’s a worry. There are lots of independent coffee shops and restaurants that work really hard and support the community.”

Cockermouth town councillor, Grace Bennion, said: “Cockermouth is full of independent cafes and shops but planning laws do not allow us to protest on the grounds of competition.

“However, I will continue to support local, independent businesses.”

Natwest closed its Cockermouth branch in 2017 and the building has stood empty ever since.