Starbucks still ‘interested’ in Wetherby Rd drive-thru

Starbucks is planning to build a Drive-Thru like this on Wetherby Road. Pictured is one the group has already built in Blackburn. (S)

Starbucks is planning to build a Drive-Thru like this on Wetherby Road. Pictured is one the group has already built in Blackburn. (S)

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Starbucks has confirmed it still plans to build a new £1.5m drive-thru at the site of a former dental laboratory on Wetherby Road.

The coffee giant first submitted plans in April last year but withdrew them in the autumn amidst a storm of controversy.

Campaigners, calling on the council to refuse it on safety and congestion grounds, said the plans were “ludicrous” at a junction which was already overloaded.

But this week Starbucks confirmed that while no formal plans have yet been resubmitted, it still has high hopes for the site at the junction with Hookstone Drive.

Commercial director for partners Euro Garages, Ilyas Munshi, said in a statement to the Advertiser: “Euro Garages are still interested in developing the Starbucks offer on the proposed site.

“We are actively working with the council to deliver an added value proposition for Harrogate that delivers both new jobs and investment into local economy.”

Starbucks first submitted its plans in April 2012, but withdrew them in October after attracting a string of objections.

“The road capacity is already exceeded,” said one resident, calling on the council to refuse the application.

“Each time an application comes in it seems to manage to get approval by tinkering with the white lines and shaving corners off junctions.”

Another critic said: “A drive-thru off a road which carries such high volumes of traffic seems ludicrous for this proposal to even be considered. Wetherby road is congested already.”

North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) had initially recommended the application for refusal on highways grounds, saying it had safety concerns about any more traffic.

But Starbucks responded by saying it was only a small development and therefore would not have a “significant impact” on air quality or capacity.

“We have assessed the junction in the agreed assessment periods and found that the junction does not operate ‘over capacity’ either with or without the development,” its application said.

The company initially said the new store would open in May this year and would create around 15 new jobs.

“We still believe that a Starbucks drive-thru investment could be a positive addition for Harrogate, ” said a spokesman in March.

“If delivered in the right way, it would actually serve to ease congestion as well as creating new job opportunities and offering an alternative meeting venue.”