Another coffee shop planned for St Albans

The former Monsoon premises in Market Place

The former Monsoon premises in Market Place - Credit: Archant

Another coffee shop could be gracing the streets of St Albans after Caffe Nero looks set to take over prime city centre premises.

The coffee chain has submitted a planning application to St Albans district council to turn the former Monsoon and Accessorize site in Market Place into a cafe spread over the ground and first floor.

It is expected it will draw around 2,500 customers per week and would join a string of other national coffee houses which have opened up in the city centre within the last eight months.

While this may be good news for caffeine lovers, St Albans Civic Society has submitted a letter of objection to the proposal.

Speaking on the society’s behalf, Eric Roberts said: “We have nothing against Caffe Nero but we just think we have reached a saturation point.

“There must be a limit on coffee shops and if we are not careful these multiple chains could drive some of the independent ones out and then we have another problem on our hands.”

He added: “St Albans is well-endowed if you want a cup of coffee.”

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But Maltings manager and chair of the City Centre Partnership, Phil Corrigan, maintained that it was an ideal location for another coffee stop.

He commented: “It is great to see another brand like Caffe Nero come into St Albans.

“There has been a real shift onto leisure and catering in the city centre; some people may not like it but it brings people to the city with increased dwell time. The strange thing about St Albans is a new restaurant, bar or coffee shop just seems to fill up and the others don’t seem to lose any trade.”

Last year Caffe Nero quashed rumours that they were interested in the unit, which has been vacant since August.

A spokesperson said: “We can confirm that we have identified a site in St Albans and are hoping to open in the spring. The café will employ roughly eight to 10 staff who will be trained as baristas in store, making a selection of espresso-based drinks.

“Since we opened our first café in 1997, Caffè Nero has been dedicated to two things: creating the very finest handcrafted Italian coffee and providing a warm and relaxing neighbourhood atmosphere in which to enjoy it and we are looking forward to being part of the community in St Albans.”