A FORMER chain restaurant in Newport could be set for a new lease of life, as a coffee giant has lodged plans to set up shop with another branch in the city.

Subject to planning permission, the former Frankie & Benny's restaurant at Newport Retail Park in the Spytty area of the city would be transformed into a drive-through coffee shop.

And, according to documents submitted with the plans, it would be operated as a franchise of American coffee titans Starbucks.

The applicant has been listed as the Magic Bean Company – a Swansea based company which operates a number of Starbucks franchises in South Wales.

South Wales Argus: The Frankie & Benny's closed in June 2020The Frankie & Benny's closed in June 2020

This includes the existing Newport branches at the Kingsway Shopping Centre, and Maesglas Retail Park.

While the Cineworld branch within the same retail park is currently home to a Starbucks concession, the application would create a stand-alone unit – complete with a drive-through function for motorists.

The proposed unit in question is the former Frankie and Benny’s unit, which has stood empty since June 2020.

According to the applicant, “the building is not providing the jobs and services which it is designed for. It is falling into disrepair.”

What do plans show?

If plans were to be approved, the unit would see some alterations carried out to the outside of the premises.

This would transform it from a restaurant to a coffee shop, and install the facilities required for a drive-through.

According to their application “external alterations are proposed to brand the unit in accordance with Starbucks national approach.

Continuing, they said: that “the alterations will result in an overall improvement to the appearance of the building which is tired and falling into disrepair due to its ongoing vacancy.”

South Wales Argus: An artist impression of the new drive-throughAn artist impression of the new drive-through

Should plans be approved, the overall retail park would lose 15 car parking spaces, due to the drive-through lane. But, two disabled access spaces would also be created, leaving a net loss of 13 spaces.

It would leave Newport Retail Park with 493 spaces in total.

In terms of jobs, the application states that 20 jobs would be created as a result of these plans.

At this time, it can be revealed that Starbucks have agreed to take over the site “subject to receipt of a satisfactory planning permission allowing for the introduction of a drive thru lane and external alterations in accordance with their corporate branding.”

The planning application is available to be viewed and commented upon online here.