The chief executive of Italian restaurant chain Carluccio’s has criticised Harrogate Borough Council for being “desperately short sighted” and refusing planning permission.
Simon Kossoff said he felt the restaurant chain, which would have created 35 jobs, had not been fully understood and the business plan to appeal the council’s decision.
“We are planning to appeal the decision, we have got a very robust case and expect to win an appeal.”
Chief planner Gary Bell has rejected the restaurant’s plans for the former Optical Express building on Station Square on the grounds that the building should remain a shop.
He said that allowing change of use to a restaurant “would result in a dilution of the retail uses in a shopping area, which would detract from the existing shopping nature of the town and would not lead to an improvement in the vitality and viability of the area.”
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 across the UK and far more people come to our restaurant cafes than average retail stores, and definitely more than an optician.
“We simply think the council are wrong and they are willing to ignore the arguments.”
Mr Kossoff added that the 150 responses from a public consultation had been 100 per cent positive.