December 9 2013 Latest news:
Monday, October 28, 2013
A landmark town centre shop is to be transformed into a national coffee chain with the news that Costa has been given the go ahead to set up business in Wisbech.
Up to 12 jobs will be created now planners have agreed to allow the shop to be turned into a Costa Coffee outlet.
It is also hoped the popular coffee stop will bring in extra shoppers to the town.
NewRiver Retail, who bought the Horsefair Shopping Centre two years ago from Zurich Insurance, has been given approval to convert the Grade II listed building at 40/41 Market Place to a Costa outlet together with a new extended shop front behind the existing colonnade of 40 Market Place.
The cafe will be housed on both the ground floor and first floor levels.
A report by Fenland planners said: “Use would bring back into use a vacant shop unit in a prominent location and as such would maintain the vitality and viability of this area of the town centre.”
The report added that the new Costa would generate high visitation rates and encourage linked trips to nearby shops.
As part of works to transform the building the ground floor level accommodation beneath the existing undercroft will be extended.
The building is one of the key anchor developments of the Horse Fair and New River have always insisted they would retain the character of the historic building, which in the 19th century was The Ship Hotel.
Horse Fair Shopping Centre opened in 1988 and comprises 26 units totalling some 92,000 square feet.
NewRiver says their Costa proposals do not specify extra parking since the Horse Fair already provides 400 spaces in a multi storey car park.
They also propose installing what they term “destination signage” to increase foot fall.