Starbeck primed for jobs boost

Councillors Philip Broadbank and Janet Law (s)
Councillors Philip Broadbank and Janet Law (s)

Up to 20 Starbeck jobs will be created when a global pizza chain opens the doors of its first Harrogate store in 2014.

Papa John’s will open a takeaway unit on the site of the former Blockbuster store on Stonefall Avenue in Starbeck early next year.

Harrogate Borough Council has approved plans to change the use of the unit to a takeaway.

However, a Starbeck business owner has joined angry borough councillors to express concern, claiming the new takeaway will put further pressure on Starbeck’s parking options, and affect traffic.

Coun Janet Law (Lib Dem) said: “There are 14 food establishments within a quarter of a mile radius of this shop - we do not need another one.”

The business owner, who did not want to be named, told the Harrogate Advertiser: “I believe in free enterprise but not to the extent where the local environment goes totally beyond saturation.

“There is already nowhere to park for people to visit local businesses.

“They have to go up to Avenue Grove or Avenue Street.

“Having another massive company will make the situation far worse.”

The business owner continued: “There is no going back, but I think the council made a hasty decision.

“They should have listened to the residents, and there has to come a cut off point for Starbeck.

“The traffic is horrendous.

“These decisions affect all local businesses. We care about the community and the council should listen to that.”

The decision was made earlier this month, and the takeaway is expected to open in the first quarter of 2014.

Coun Philip Broadbank (Lib Dem) said: “We believe we have reached saturation levels as far as eating establishments are concerned in this area.”

The councillors joined residents in submitting objections to the plans.

In a joint statement, they said: “We submitted objections to the plans as did many residents in the area who were concerned about traffic, litter and parking problems that they felt would arise if permission was granted.

“We are dismayed and angry about the decision that has been made.”

Anthony Round, Business Development Manager for Papa John’s, said: “We have received planning permission to open a Papa John’s Pizza store on Stonefall Avenue.

“We are aiming to open in the first quarter of 2014, which will create up to 20 jobs.”

Harrogate’s retail sector has had to adapt to change this year, with the closure of many well-known high street names.

In January, Blockbuster entered administration, shutting both the Starbeck and Cold Bath Road stores. The Wetherby Road branch of Thomas Cook, along with Lewis and Cooper and the West Park home of electrical giant Comet closed. Central store Jessops shut but was reopened.

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