AN up-and-coming coffee shop chain will be the latest new business to open in Southend High Street after plans were approved for it to take over a former Post Office.

Black Sheep Coffee has been given the green light by Southend Council to replace the signs and open in the old Post Office, close to WH Smith.

The Post Office has been empty since it closed in 2017 and the news that another new business will be coming to the city has been welcomed.

Black Sheep Coffee will join a number of other coffee shops in the High Street, including two Costa Coffee’s, Starbucks, Caffe Nero and Esquires Coffee.

Matt Dent, Labour councillor for the Kursaal ward, believes the additional competition is good news and a positive sign for the High Street.

Mr Dent added: “I sometimes see comments from people saying the High Street is dying, but High Streets up and down the country are having a difficult time.

“I think we are seeing a shift in what shops are used for, and Black Sheep Coffee amplifies that.

“Instead of retail, people are looking to High Streets for food, drink and experiences. So, it is important to use it for that if that is what people want.”

It comes amid an explosion of restaurants and takeaways in the city centre, including the recent addition of Black and Red Bistro Grill.

Southend BID recently revealed more than 85 per cent of shops are now occupied in Southend High Street, with more businesses still set to open their doors, such as Wendy’s.

Black Sheep Coffee has almost 100 sites across the UK and already boasts businesses in Colchester and Chelmsford, but this would be its first in south Essex.

Mr Dent added said: “It is brilliant news.

“Any new businesses coming to Southend has to be welcomed.Clearly they see the potential of the city.

“Getting their application approved, and to be able to move in will be good.

“It is much better than having an empty building.

“It is always good to fill up a vacant unit and bring a new business into Southend.”

The chain focuses on barista prepared premium coffees as well as a range of smoothies, pastries, bagels, and toasties.