NANDO'S could be the start of a new chapter in Taunton's retail sector, it has been claimed.

The restaurant group, famous for its Portuguese Peri Peri chicken, plan to officially open in the town on February 5.

Business leaders across the town say the introduction of the national chicken chain could have a knock-on boost for other town centre venues.

Graham Love, Taunton Town Centre Company manager, said Nando's is the brand Taunton needs.

He added: “We are a county town and we need both strong independents and national brands so we hope this continues.

“Nando's brand is very popular with young people as well as older people too and the firm has shown great confidence to take out a 20-year lease in the heart of the town centre which is really good news.

“There is other companies showing interest in Taunton and eyeing the town up at the moment but in the current climate, businesses are very specific in the space and size of a unit before taking one.”

The County Gazette broke the news in July after Nando's signed a 20-year lease next to clothes store Fat Face in North Street.

There has been mixed reaction on social media over the news but Lucinda Ackland, who set up the Women's Independence Network group said the introduction of Nando's could boost the town's independent shops too.

She said: “People like Nando's and it is needed to bring footfall into Taunton because the more people come, the more the independents get chance to show who they are to people.

“There has to be a balance of both independents and nationals but Nando's targets the youngsters and sports people so the only people I can see it affecting in the town are the big fastfood stores, but they have had a fair crack of it up until now anyway.

“It is a big unit with a big rateable value which an independent would struggle to fill so it is better to have it full than nothing.”

The owner of Sabeez Peri Peri, in Station Road, Taunton who sell similar dishes to Nando's, told the County Gazette last year that he is not concerned the move will affect his trade.

What do you think of Nando's coming to Taunton? Comment below or tweet reporter Daniel Milligan @GazetteDMilli