Concerns have been expressed about plans to bring a well-known chain of coffee shops to Cockermouth.
Costa is expected to open its first store in town as plans are underway to convert the old Natwest Bank on Station Street into a coffee shop.
However, some independent coffee shop owners in the city fear this will have a negative impact on trade.
Racz Group, a Costa franchisee, has applied to Allerdale Council for advertising consent.
The plans include an illuminated Costa Coffee sign on the front of the building, as well as advertising posters.
The company aims to “develop new business concepts in areas sometimes neglected by investment” and “shake up the city we are entering”.
Manon Plouffe, who owns the Wild Zuccini bistro on Station Street, said, “I think it’s a shame they chose a place where the three of us are already on Station Street – me, VeeVa and Merienda.
“I knew these big chains would infiltrate our city – we have no choice. It would have felt nicer if they had given a little more thought to the choice of the premises. There are already a lot of us in cafes.
“I think that was definitely lacking in terms of courtesy and thinking ahead and will unfortunately lead to hostility in the city and most likely hit us with small cafes that are already struggling to survive.”
Catherine Hetherington, owner of New Bookshop on Main Street, which has its own coffee shop, said, “I think it’s going to make an impact. Many of us are small, independent businesses.
“It’s a worry. There are lots of independent cafes and restaurants that work really hard and support the community. ”
Cockermouth Councilor Grace Bennion said: “Cockermouth is full of independent cafes and shops, but planning laws do not allow us to protest on competitive grounds.
“However, I will continue to support local, independent companies.”
Natwest closed its Cockermouth branch in 2017 and the building has been vacant since then.