Councillor welcomes demolition go-ahead for Starbeck shop destroyed in fire over three years ago

A councillor who has long campaigned for action on a burned-out Starbeck shop has welcomed approval of plans to demolish the building widely considered to be the area's biggest eyesore.

By Jacob Webster
Wednesday, 9th February 2022, 3:53 pm
Liberal Democrat councillor Philip Broadbank pictured outside the former McColl’s store on Starbeck High Street.
Liberal Democrat councillor Philip Broadbank pictured outside the former McColl’s store on Starbeck High Street.

Liberal Democrat councillor Philip Broadbank said the approval was a big boost for Starbeck High Street which has been "blighted" by the former McColl’s convenience store ever since it was gutted and left roofless during a fire more than three years ago.

Councillor Broadbank said: "As a resident of Starbeck myself I am pleased that at long last the site owner has now got permission to demolish this semi-derelict building.

"We need to see progress now and work towards getting a prestigious new development on the site that will help to enhance the High Street.

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"It is time for some positive thinking and positive action now that the demolition issue has been decided."

The former McColl’s store has been described as an "eyesore" and "ramshackle" by locals who have become increasingly frustrated with its unsightly appearance on the High Street.

Councillor Broadbank said he would now hold talks with the building owners Bates and Hemingbrough over their plans to revive the site by building new retail and 15 housing units in place of the current building.

These plans have already been discussed with Harrogate Borough Council, although a planning application has yet to be submitted.

The council had previously questioned whether the building next to St Andrew's Church could be refurbished, before more recently putting the demolition plans on hold to allow for more safety documents to come forward.

Councillor Broadbank had previously argued the building was beyond restoration and should be torn down.

The council's decision to allow this finally came to the joy of residents in January and the Leeds-based site owners now have five years to complete their demolition and construction works.

Councillor Broadbank, who represents Starbeck on both Harrogate Borough Council and North Yorkshire County Council, said he was hopeful that progress on the site could be made at a much faster pace than has been done up until now.

He said: "Like many Starbeck Residents I want to get things moving now that demolition has finally been approved.

"Clearly as there are more than 15 homes proposed in what they would like to see on the site there will be some discussions now with the borough council over financial contributions to support affordable housing in the district and other aspects that now need to be progressed."

By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter