Plans for a new Costa Coffee shop in Bideford High Street has sparked concerns from independent retailers.

The national outlet has put in plans for the former NatWest bank building at 86 High Street, for freestanding tables and chairs on the pavement outside.

A further planning application to change the internals of the building and create a new entrance has also been submitted to Torridge District Council.

Permission was granted for change of use to a cafe in June last year, but Costa wasn’t named as the intended occupant until this latest application.

Kazz Robinson-Lane, who owns Cafe Collective at the opposite end of Bideford High Street, is urging independent traders to lodge their objections against the plans.

She said: “I just don’t know why planning officers are allowing Costa to open this coffee shop, there are already about 16 or 17 I can think of in the town.

“It’s hard enough between us to make a living, especially as more have opened up in the five years we have been here.

“The way I look at it, we’ve invested a lot of money into Bideford opening the cafe.

“If we were to go, it’s the ripple effect – it wouldn’t just affect our customers but all the small suppliers we use too.”

Kazz said she feared with the prominent position of the new Costa, visitors to the town in summer would flock to the well-known brand name, and neglect to check out the rest of the town.

Other traders have found creative ways to support the independent cafes in the town.

Andrew Bailey, of Just Spectacles in Bideford, is offering a free lens upgrade for customers who bring him ‘a white coffee from an independent local coffee house’.

He said: “I personally will continue to use an independent for my coffee addiction but Bideford needs big brands so bring it on.

“Large companies follow each other around and we need choice to bring shoppers.”

But Jill Rousseau, who owns a gallery in Cooper Street, said she was ‘completely against’ it.

“It can only damage the other coffee shops in town, and is totally against the integrity of the town as a centre for small independent businesses,” she added.

The Gazette has contacted Costa Coffee for comment but received no response.