Traders step up fight with Caffe Nero

The old Clintons Cards shop in Knaresborough's Market Place, where Caffe Nero have submitted plans to open a branch.
The old Clintons Cards shop in Knaresborough's Market Place, where Caffe Nero have submitted plans to open a branch.

Worried Knaresborough traders have launched a petition against coffee shop giant Caffe Nero’s plans to open in the town.

“Say No to Nero” petitions have been in shops across Knaresborough since Friday, November 16, after shopkeepers and cafe owners met to discuss their worries about the chain’s plans to come to the town.

At Café Crema on Castlegate owner Ally Faber and manager Rob Thomas have the petition displayed for customers to sign. Ally said: “Knaresborough is a collection of quirky shops and places and we want it to stay that way. We don’t want to see the same stuff on the High Street as every other town.”

Ally and Rob said they were concerned the former Clintons Cards shop, which Caffe Nero is planning to move into, was one of Knaresborough’s prime retail units but had not been offered for rent to other businesses.

“No one wants to see an empty shop, we do want to see a business in there,” Rob said. “But unless it is given a chance to be let as a retail unit we will never know if it would succeed.”

Petition sheets are also available at Picallili at 31 High Street. Owner Paul Smith said: “This is not going to affect me as much, but it will be terrible for the smaller businesses.”

Eighteen months ago Paul saw a planning application to expand his café business into the neighbouring unit refused on the grounds that loss of retail shopping frontage in a prime location would harm Knaresborough’s economy, he said.

He is concerned Nero’s move into the large space in the Market Place would be a similar situation.

The application will be decided after December 6.

Knaresborough Town Council discussed the application on Monday, November 19, but councillors voted to offer no objections to the scheme.