Cafes set to compete in Hastings coffee wars

Hastings Town Centre
Hastings Town Centre

COFFEE lovers will be full of beans with the news the town centre is going to get a huge new cafe - right opposite Hastings’s current biggest coffee house.

The former Ponden Home Interiors shop, which sits smack bang in the middle of the town centre, closed several weeks ago and it emerged this week that the iconic curved site is being taken over by Caffe Nero.

Work has already started on the new cafe which is directly opposite Costa Coffee, and only a cappuccino’s throw from Jempson’s.

Rob Woods, the town centre manager, welcomed the move.

He said: “It is good to see a business wanting to move into that space so quickly – Caffe Nero is a quality operation and the fact it wants to move in says something quite strong about where the town centre is heading.

“Some people might have preferred to see a retail unit in a more traditional sense but we have to recognise town centres are changing and coffee shops are becoming far more popular than they were.

“It will make the area a real focal point and a meeting place once we have all the tables and chairs out there.”

And Mr Woods said he hoped that Caffe Nero’s arrival would help rather than hinder the nearby cafes.

“It might seem counter-intuitive to some people but I imagine Caffe Nero will have done its homework.

“I have a slight concern for those cafes which are members of the town centre forum but I do believe the value of that area becoming a focal point will outweigh any disadvantages in the long-term.

“I hope other quality operators will follow suit,” he added.

Nobody from Caffe Nero was available for comment yesterday although it has been suggested the new cafe will be open by Easter.

Council spokesman Lucy Downham said no planning applications had been submitted for the site, although it is not yet clear whether any new permission would be needed for the renovation.