The potential arrival of a Wetherspoons in Belper appears to have split opinion among Belper folk.
JD Wetherspoon has submitted a planning application to convert the former Bugsy’s Bar and Diner, on Strutt Street, into a new venue and nightspot with about 45 new jobs up for grabs.
Last week the Belper News hit the streets to speak to local residents and shoppers and get their thoughts on the proposals.
Sue Booth said that despite the negative image the chain can sometimes portray, she feels it would be a welcome addition to Belper.
She said: “Wetherspoons does have an image attached to it but if you accept it for what it is then I think it’s a good addition.
“There’s one in neighbouring towns like Alfreton and Ripley, and I don’t think it’s a bad thing.
“It will generate jobs and hopefully bring people to the town.”
Elaine Boles shared Sue’s view that the development would benefit shoppers and visitors and pointed to another national chain as a good example to follow.
She said: “I’d be happy with it coming to Belper but it depends what clients come in.
“I think it will do well but it just depends who goes in it.
“They do nice meals and if you look at the example of Costa, it seems to have livened Belper up.”
There were, however, others who disagree with the idea of the chain, which runs over 900 pubs nationwide, arriving in the town.
Linda Black, 53, says the image of Belper could be damaged.
She said: “I’m not a pub visitor so it’s not somewhere I would particularly go.
“It will probably bring down the Belper image and make it a bit of a noisy and rowdy town.”
Matt Connell, 48, says that any new arrival should maintain the heritage and history of the town.
He said: “I think there’s a lot of development going on in Belper and it’s important to ensure it all fits in with a sense of what the town is about.
“There’s a lot of conservation areas and heritage sites so you have to be careful.”
Wetherspoons is not the only national chain that could be set to arrive in Belper.
Fast food giant KFC has also earmarked the town as a potential site for a new drive-thru restaurant, although the reaction of local residents was far from welcoming.
Elaine said: “I’m not a fan of KFC at all - I think that would be a move in the wrong direction.
Matt added: “KFC is the mark of Satan as far as I’m concerned.
“I don’t think we need stuff like that in Belper.”
Ethan Lowe, from Hazelwood, also believes that the fried chicken chain would be an unwelcome addition to the Belper High Street.
He said: “I think it’s better to keep local rather than move in the big chains.
“KFC wouldn’t be good because we’ve got a really nice little High Street here.
“I think it would especially draw younger people away from local shops and more towards the kind of places that they see on TV.”