Proposals for another cafe on Cambridge Street in Harrogate have been refused by council planners.
The proposals for a Pret A Manger to replace the Dorothy Perkins and Burton store on one of Harrogate’s main shopping streets divided opinion, with many arguing that Harrogate already has too many cafes.
Over 500 people signed a petition to oppose the plans and Dorothy Perkins’ deputy manager Laura Livingstone said the staff had been overwhelmed by the response of shoppers.
“People were mortified at the thought of another cafe, they see this as one of the main shopping streets in Harrogate.
“They said even if they lost us they would still want to see another retailer, not a cafe.”
The council’s planning department received 26 letters of objection to the plans in addition to the petition signed by 509 people.
In a council report, case officer Mike Parkes said Cambridge Street was one of the principal shopping areas in the town centre.
He said: “This property occupies a prime location on a principal shopping street and change of use from wholly retail in this location would adversely impact on the character of this important shopping street within Harrogate town centre.”
Harrogate Borough Council’s chief planner, Gary Bell turned down the application earlier this week. He said: “The introduction of non retail use would result in a dilution of the retail uses in a shopping area, which would detract from the existing shopping nature of the town and would not lead to an improvement in the vitality and viability of the shopping centre.”
Despite the flood of objections many residents have argued that a Pret A Manger would be a good addition to Harrogate town centre.
One commenter on the Harrogate Advertiser website said: “I would welcome a Pret a Manger, they serve good, honest, additive free fare and give any leftover produce to charity. People do want coffee shops you only have to look at the present ones in Harrogate, Nero’s, Costa, they are always busy.”
Last year Harrogate Borough Council faced backlash after refusing planning permission to Italian restaurant chain Carluccio’s. Developers appealed to a government planning inspector who overturned the council’s decision and the Station Square restaurant opened this year.
lWhat do you think? Does Harrogate have too many cafes and restaurants? Is there anything Harrogate town centre is missing? Email Laura.Hill@jpress.co.uk with your views.