A LONG-AWAITED coffee shop is just days away from opening its doors to the public.
Costa Coffee’s opening in Castle Dene Shopping Centre, Peterlee, has been much-anticipated.
The venture, in the middle of the main square, had been planned to open in mid-June.
But it faced delay when new contractors had to be found after the builders responsible for the construction went into administration.
However, the 1,700sq-ft pod, which is creating six new jobs, is due to open on Friday, August 16.
Shopping centre owners Salford Estates say the new shop will be a great addition to the centre.
But Peterlee Town Council leader, Councillor Bill Jeffrey has raised concerns that the new Costa shop could have a negative impact on other similar traders in the centre.
Centre manager Barry Parnell said: “Work on the new Costa Coffee is progressing well and is due to open on Friday, August 16.
“Costa is a great addition to the already excellent line-up at the shopping centre and we hope as many people as possible come down on the opening day.
“Everyone will have the opportunity to try out Costa’s great tasting coffee for themselves by picking up a leaflet for a free coffee in the week leading up to opening and over the August Bank Holiday weekend.”
But Coun Jeffrey said: “I feel sorry for the people who already have coffee facilities. I’m concerned that people are going to leave the centre.
“I just think we have lost a fair bit of land there that might have been used for something different. People are talking, saying this could drive smaller traders away.”
Concerned residents contacted the Star in May after hearing rumours builders had packed up and abandoned the project, leaving the framework of the structure in a prominent location in the centre. But the new contractors were quickly found and the exterior of the structure is now complete, with interior fixtures and fittings and final tweaks being added.