There is a significant history to the application, that has previously been declined, but now has an application for use as a Drive-thru Starbucks. Harrogate Borough Council has said there isn’t a sound planning reason to refuse the application, but the planning committee voted against it.
Councillor Pat Marsh said:
Residents are up in arms about the Council’s decision not to defend its refusal of the Starbucks Drive Thru coffee shop next to Woodlands junction.
This site has needed to be developed for a long time and housing and Offices would be options to look at but the owner’s Euro Garages, who own the Garage opposite, are desperate to build a drive thru Starbucks. Residents and road users have grave concerns on traffic congestion and car manoeuvres in this area and the pollution from idling cars on the site.
The hours of operation from 7:00am to 10:00pm, 7 days a week, would mean that there would be no respite for local Residents, who live just feet away.
Harrogate Borough Council has said that the development complies with the Local Plan, and local and national policies, this is plan-led development and shows that the system is working as it should.
Councillor Tim Myatt said:
In most cases where the council rejects an application, the applicant has the option to appeal to the national Planning Inspectorate. The inspectorate will reach a decision based on planning considerations alone, and it is therefore important that decisions to reject applications are based on sound planning reasons.
In some cases that have gone to appeal, like the Motorway Service Area, the council is able to mount a strong case and it is difficult to see why the decision was made by a planning inspector in the way that it was. In the case of the drive-through on Wetherby Road, officers made councillors aware that they did not feel they could defend the decision at appeal if councillors chose to reject the application.
That is because the planning grounds for refusal were weak. The council employs officers to use their professional expertise and to provide this type of advice. When councillors refused the application against officer advice, officers tried to find a planning consultant who would defend the position voted for by councillors. All the planning consultants they approached would not do so because they said the decision was indefensible in planning law.
Harrogate Borough Council pursued options for opposing the application with the inspectorate, but advice they obtained said it indefensible in planning law. They then gave the option to oppose the application to the councillors that opposed it at planning committee.
Councillor Pat Marsh, said:
Because the Council will not defend the Council Planning Committees original decision it is now up to Local Residents and myself to attend the Appeal to defend the Council’s decision and make the case on why this is the wrong site for a Drive Thru Coffee Shop.
The Council said it could not find any experts to defend the refusal but I am sure that there must be experts out there who would be able to help and guide the Residents in this very important case. If anyone can and will help, please do contact Cllr Pat Marsh on firstname.lastname@example.org
The Residents would also like help and support from their local MP Andrew Jones.
This feels like a case of bullying, Developers can ask for costs against the Council and because this is public money Council’s often back down because they are concerned at the risk to the Public purse, this is wrong on so many levels. Already it is an uneven process Developers have a right to Appeal but local Residents don’t if they have what they feel is inappropriate development pushed on them.