Pateley Bridge residents have expressed anger and disappointment after the decision was taken to approve the Costcutter store’s extension.
The application, originally submitted in September 2013, was given the go ahead by Harrogate Borough Council’s (HBC) planning committee this week.
Several issues were raised with the application, including the impact on highways with only one access point, the scale of the proposed structure, and the modern design that residents feel is out of keeping with the area.
As the committee’s vote was tied at six votes for and six against, the deciding vote was left with the chair, Mashamshire Coun Nigel Simms (Con), who followed the officer’s recommendation for approval.
Building work can now begin to expand the existing store, raising the height of the building by more than two metres, increasing the floor space, and providing for nine car parking spaces.
Chair of the Nidderdale Chamber of Trade, Keith Tordoff, said at the meeting: “I think we should listen to the people of Pateley Bridge. We have got here 61 letters opposing this application, we have got 774 residents signing a petition, and we have only three residents writing to support it. That is very important.
“We are talking about increasing the store by 130 per cent. Who needs a double height building unless you are going to use it? And what about the environment?
“There is obviously something wrong with this and those who have the ability also have the responsibility to do something about something which is completely wrong.”
After the meeting, Mr Tordoff said: “It is a bit of a killer blow for Pateley Bridge and may it rest on their heads. They have let the people of Nidderdale down and the future will show that.”
Speaking on behalf of Costcutter, director at ID Planning Ltd Jeremy Williams said the building’s height provided an open environment for shoppers and that traditional materials would be used to balance the contemporary design.
He said: “The scheme complies with both national and local planning policy and this extension is not of a size to cause harm to Pateley Bridge. Working with officers has led to an appropriate and acceptable design solution to this site.
“In relation to highways, the county council have no objections and are satisfied as to access to the site and that parking is acceptable.”
Some concerns were raised about the canopy above the filling station at the store, the height of which, at six metres, may necessitate a taller building to offset the structure.
Hookstone Coun Pat Marsh (Lib Dem) said: “The canopy is quite large and seems incongruous. I think what is put there does have to ameliorate the size of it.
“I just wonder whether more work would mean it did reflect the buildings it is in context with, but I can’t support the design.”
However, planning case officer Andrew Siddall said the design complemented the landscape and balanced the canopy’s size.
He said: “What we have got is designed to create a greater presence and a greater sense of enclosure, designed to reflect the height of neighbouring buildings and the townscape. It is a benefit in that it is comparable in size to the canopy and therefore ensures that the canopy is not the dominant feature on the site.”
After the meeting, Nidderdale Coun Helen Flynn (Lib Dem), who spoke on behalf of residents, worried about the impact of the store on the landscape.
She said: “The people living there are going to be looking at that and I just don’t get it. I am not against progress but in this case the scale is wrong and ingress and egress to the site has not been considered properly.
“The development is too big and too unsympathetic and the design is out of keeping with Pateley - it looks like something out of Star Trek.”