A coffee chain says it has no firm plans to open a branch in Wanstead, despite seeking permission to install illuminated signs at a vacant shop.

Costa Coffee has submitted an application for the unit formerly occupied by Enigma Hairdressers in High Street, Wanstead.

The landlords of the shop have already made a successful application to change the use of the premises to enable it to sell food and drink.

A spokeswoman for Costa Coffee said: “We work closely with planning departments across the country to open new stores for the benefit of their local communities, creating new jobs and providing attractive and popular social meeting places.

“We are currently evaluating opportunities in the Wanstead area, but have no firm plans in place at this stage.”

There is already a branch of Starbucks in the street and some independent traders have voiced fears that their businesses will suffer if another coffee chain moves in.