GLOBAL coffee giant Costa has fuelled rumours that it is preparing to open a shop in Wincanton.
Rumours have been rife that the international corporation is to join KFC, Travelodge and The Wagtail pub on the town’s Long Close site.
After inquiries were made by the Western Gazette, a Costa spokesman confirmed plans are in the pipeline for a potential opening.
A statement confirmed Costa is “currently reviewing options in the area” but that talk of an opening in the immediate future was wide of the mark.
The news has spread across the town – with a number of residents sharing their views on the prospective new arrival.
Arthur Batchelor, 85, welcomed the news – and believes motorists coming off the A303 would be quick to take advantage of the shop.
He said: “I wouldn’t mind it coming. If it does open down on the trading estate then I am sure that a lot of people would use it. It would probably be those staying at the Travelodge or using the restaurant who would use it most.”
However, concerns were also raised that the potential new arrival could cause yet more damage to the town’s beleaguered high street.
Jean Whitelock, 86, said: “I am against the opening if it is to go down on the trading estate.
“We have had enough taken out of the town already – it’s such a shame. I wouldn’t go down to the trading estate for a cup of coffee. I would prefer to have it in the high street.”
Ian Mitchell, 29, echoed the concerns – but believes Wincanton’s high street is strong enough to fight off the competition.
He said: “My biggest concern would be the potential damage to the town’s trade on the high street.
“However, I do think the quality of the current shops on the high street is good so that will ensure that it survives.”
Wincanton’s high street has seen Safeway and the doctors surgery leave town centre premises in the last decade.
The Green Dragon antique and crafts centre, which used to attract a number of tourists to the town, also remains vacant.
Homecanton House resident John Pidgeon, 76, said: “The opening of Costa doesn’t worry me. It can’t harm the town any more than it has already been.”
Dora Hibberd fears a new high street is gradually developing outside the town. The 78-year-old said: “It’s totally unnecessary. There is absolutely nothing left up here.”
Freda Shaw, 68, also questioned whether people would travel outside of the town.
She said: “ I don’t know anybody in their right mind who would get in a car and travel all that way just for a coffee.”
Travelodge, KFC and The Wagtail pub all opened last year.
A Costa spokesman said: “We are currently reviewing options in the area but have no immediate plans to open.”