Over 2,000 people have signed a ‘Say No to Nero’ petition against coffee shop giant Caffe Nero’s plans to open in Knaresborough.
Café Crema owner Ally Faber and manager Rob Thomas presented the 2,000 signatures to the planning case officer on Tuesday November 27, Harrogate Borough Council has set a target determination date of December 18.
Concerned residents have noticed that work has already begun at the ground floor unit.
“It looks like it’s nearly finished already,” said Maurice Bardon, President of Knaresborough Chamber of Trade.
Ally Faber said: “There is a lot of opposition in our town but obviously the main concern is that they may open without planning permission as they have done in other locations.”
In November 2011 Caffe Nero opened in Skipton despite not having gained planning permission from Craven District Council, Caffe Nero’s retrospective planning application was refused but planning permission was granted after an appeal.
Mr Bardon owns The Lavender Rooms cafe which is situated in an upstairs unit on The Market Place. He said: “When we applied for planning permission we were told by the council that ground floor units should be saved for retail purposes, so set up upstairs.
“I would like to know when those rules changed.”
A Caffe Nero spokesman confirmed that they aim to open mid-december and said: “As a business, we are sensitive to local customers but our experience is that we attract more customers a week than have signed the petition and our presence in towns such as Knaresborough has been repeatedly shown to be good for trading on the high street.”