Caffe Nero will open in Knaresborough “whatever the outcome” of their planning application, the company’s agents have told council officials.
Planning agents Brian Madge Ltd, who are acting for Caffe Nero in an application to open a cafe in the former Clintons Cards unit on Knaresborough’s Market Place, have written to Harrogate Borough Council’s planning department.
“I note the concern that Caffe Nero has already started work. This is because Caffe Nero will trade whatever the outcome of the current application,” the letter said.
Caffe Nero will open as a reatil unit – or A1 use – rather than the combined retail and cafe – A1/A3 use – the company has applied for planning permission to do, the letter went on to say.
“If the store were to trade as A1 alone on the ground floor the appearance would probably remain nearly identical to the current arrangement with just fewer seats.”
Planning officials have confirmed Caffe Nero can legally open in the Market Place shop as a retail A1 unit without planning permission.
The council could only take action once the coffee shop had opened if they considered too large a proporation of its business to be coming from “non retail” customers.
But independent traders in Knaresborough have hit out at the news and condemned Caffe Nero’s behaviour as “arrogant”.
Ally Faber, who runs Caffe Crema on Casltegate, said: “Surely this arrogance and such bullying tactics should not be tolerated by our planning department?
“Would an independent trader be able to trade regardless of planning permission? I think not.”
Caffe Nero submitted their planning application to Harrogate Borough Council in September this year and the application is due to be considered by December 18. The decision could be taken the Head of Planning Services, meaning the result could be known before Christmas, but if the case is sent to the Planning Committee for councillors to discuss the application could wait until January 15 to be decided.