Plans to convert former Wokingham pet store into a coffee shop

PLANS for a new coffee shop in Wokingham borough have been submitted to the council.

The proposal will convert an empty pet shop into a branch of Costa Coffee and also a separate cafe/restaurant. If approved, will come hot on the heels of the launch of a new branch of the coffee chain in Winnersh as part of the Premier Inn complex opposite the Showcase Cinema.

The application for this new coffee shop shows that the store will be open seven days a week from 6am through to 11pm and have the option for seating outside the storefront.

The restaurant would have a separate entrance and be next to the Marks & Spencer store.

It would be based in the former Just For Pets store in the Chalfont Square Retail Park in Lower Earley, opposite the Asda superstore.

The area is already home to a Toby Carvery and a McDonald’s as sit-down restaurants. There is also a branch of Domino’s Pizza serving takeaways and deliveries. The Asda complex has an instore cafe and a new sushi bar.

A letter submitted by agents Savills on behalf of the developer notes: “The unit has been vacant for circa 21 months following the closure of the Just for Pets store in October 2017.

“Since this time the unit has been continuously marketed, however there has been no interested expressed for its reoccupation for a Class A1 use, whether as a single unit or in a subdivided form. The only interest expressed by the market has been for its subdivision and change of use as proposed in this application. The proposed development has therefore been formulated specifically to meet these market requirements.”

If approved, Savills anticipate that between 20 and 25 jobs will be created.

Although the plans include a diagram showing signs for a Costa coffee, the rest of the submissions do not mention the chain by name.

On social media, reaction to the plans have been mixed.

One said: “Costa Coffee what a let down, suppose it could’ve been worse like another sushi outlet”.

Another wanted a different type of store: “I was hoping it would be something more useful than yet another coffee shop/eatery”.

A bank was suggested by one commentator, while another wanted an American diner and a pound shop was also mentioned.

However, another person suggested: “M&S cafe would be nice”.

The planning application number is 192069 and can be seen at planning.wokingham.gov.uk

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