SPECULATION IS rife in Welshpool that Costa Coffee will be coming to the town centre at the expense of a cafe that employs 18 people.

Rumours that the Coffee Chain has been trying to come to Welshpool have been going around the town for many months.

Many believed that Costa were interested in taking one of the three units at the retail park that are up for planning permission.

Welshpool Town Council refused to back the application last month believing it would affect businesses on the High Street.

But with the Pinewood Cafe, announcing their imminent closure with the loss of 18 jobs, it looks more than likely that Costa will be going there.

This would give Welshpool coffee drinkers, a choice of five coffee shops within a short walk.

This week, the Pinewood cafe, put a notice up in it’s window, thanking customers for their support over the years.

Cafe manager, Amanda Gittins, said that the building owners had given her three months notice to vacate the building.

The cafe closes at the end of December with the building being sold.

Amanda told The County Times; “We were just told by the building owners that they needed vacant possession.

“I’ve heard the rumours, but I’ve been too busy dealing with staff members. I employ 18 people and from the end of December we’ll all be out of a job.”

Other coffee shop owners say they are “not scared” of the competition that Costa may bring to the town.

Jo Harris who runs Coco coffee shop said: “I’m not scared at all.

”It’s a shame that the Pinewood is closing as it’s been an institution in the town.

“Initially if Costa come here it will hit all the coffee shops as people will go there and have a look. We’ve already seen that when Greggs came here.

“But I feel that we as an independent businesses offer a better service than a corporation or chain.”

Welshpool mayor, Cllr Steve Kaye, said: “It’s sad to see the Pinewood going, I remember going there as a boy.

”Hopefully if Costa Coffee does appear the jobs will not be lost, it could bring more trade in to town.”

Pinewood building owner Catherine Evans could neither confirm or deny that the building had been sold to Costa.

She said: “No deal has been finalised yet, it may take a week or two.”

The cafe has been part of Welshpool Town Centre since the 1960s.

In 1961 Mervyn Evans developed the Pinewood Cafe into a modern coffeehouse.

In 1963 he bought No. 3 Broad Street which he turned into a bakery shop.

In 1967 he bought the pub next door which was known as the Boars Head but became the Pinewood Tavern.

Amanda Gittins took over the cafe in 2013, two years after Mervyn’s death.

Costa Coffee failed to respond to our questions as The County Times went to press.