Published: 15:19, 12 September 2021
| Updated: 15:31, 12 September 2021
A pizza chain is planning to open its first Kent restaurant in the existing Costa branch on Canterbury’s high street.
Franco Manca, which specialises in sourdough pizza, made clear its intentions to launch in the city last year, yet a location had not been found.
Now, plans to convert the long-standing coffee house on the junction of Guildhall Street have been revealed.
The entirety of the large unit would be transformed into a restaurant - spelling the end for one of Costa’s two city branches.
The store was put on the market in March, but the coffee giant previously assured customers and staff that it had no “immediate plans” to close its cafe. However, it now looks almost certain the site will shut and reopen with a new tenant.
Franco Manca has lodged its proposals to convert the unit with the city council’s planning department.
The change of bid use bid is yet to receive any public comments from either supporters or critics.
After opening its first store in Brixton Market in 2008, the chain has rapidly expanded and today comprises 70 branches, the majority of which are in London.
The group says it is confident of its success in expanding its portfolio, and can benefit from changes in the restaurant sector brought about by the pandemic.
Cities in all corners of the UK are being considered for new branches, and now the official plans for Canterbury have been submitted.
The Grade II-listed property stands on the site of a neo-classical fronted Guildhall.
It is understood to have been demolished in the mid 20th century, although the remains of a vault are still preserved at basement level.
When Costa was put on the market earlier this year, a marketing document said staff were “totally unaware of the intended disposal”.