Carluccio’s chief executive has spoken of his fears their planning application will be rejected by Harrogate Borough Council.
Simon Kossoff has called for the Italian restuarant chain’s planning application to go before the council’s planning committee rather than delegating the decision to planning officers.
He said: “We don’t feel that our business has been fully understood.”
Economic development officer at Harrogate Borough Council, Alan Sandy, has objected to the restaurant’s plans for the former Optical Express building on Station Square.
In a report to the council Mr Sandy said: “It is considered that the current amount of availible retail space is too low for a town of Harrogate’s position and importance as a visitor destination.
“There is already a concentration of cafes and delicatessens in the immediate vicinity of these premises, Bib & Tucker Deli, Filmore & Union, Zizzi Restaurant and Indulge Café which is considered sufficient.
“Overall the application will reduce the supply of retail premises in the town centre and is unlikely to lead to an improvement in the vitality and viability of the shopping centre.”
Mr Kossoff disagrees with this and feels that the restaurant/cafe/deli style of his business, which includes a food store selling Italian meats, cheeses and pastries, would bring vitality and vibrancy to the area.
He said: “There are always concerns about removal of retail space but the retail aspect is ingrained in our business.”
“We have studied footfalls at similar size stores across the UK and far more people come to our restaurant cafes than average retail stores, and definitely more than an optician.”
Mr Kossoff blasted Mr Sandys claims that the creation of 35 jobs is considered “extremely optimistic.”
He said: “He is wrong, we have submitted evidence that from previous openings of similar sizes were 35 jobs were created. These 35 jobs are not insignificant in the current climate.”
He added that the report from the economic development officer was the only area of objection and the 150 responses from a public consultation were 100 per cent positive.
Mr Kossoff said: “For this restaurant we are concerned that the council may refuse it.
“We believe we should be put before planning committee and issues addressed in that forum.”
A council spokeswoman confirmed about 90 per cent of planning applications are decided by delegated powers, but maintained a developer could argue for a decision to be taken by a planning committee. Applicants are also able to appeal to the Secretary of State should permission be refused.
She added: “Delegated powers give greater efficiency to the planning process, if all applications had to go to committee there would be serious delays which applicants would find unacceptable.”