Victory at last for Carluccio’s

Carluccio's chief executive Simon Kossoff
Carluccio's chief executive Simon Kossoff

Carluccio’s will open in Harrogate after a planning inspector upheld the restaurant chain’s appeal.

Chief executive Simon Kossoff told the Advertiser he was “absolutely delighted” with the decision to allow the Italian restaurant chain to open at the former Optical Express building on Station Square.

Carluccio's will open in the former Optical Express. (1310083AM1)

Carluccio's will open in the former Optical Express. (1310083AM1)

He said: “We have had lots of support from when we first started with our public consultation, and through letters to ourselves and to the 

“Such fantastic support encouraged us to push on and we are delighted that we got there in the end.”

A huge public outcry followed Harrogate Borough Council’s refusal of the restaurant with deli on the grounds the unit should remain a shop and Carluccio’s appealed against the decision.

Government Planning Inspector Matthew Birkinshaw appointed by the Secretary of State, upheld Carluccio’s appeal and said: “The proposal would be likely to generate a significant level of footfall which would add to the vibrancy of the immediate surrounding area.

“The type of products sold would also be consistent with other high-quality retailers on James Street.”

Mr Kossoff said: “The planning inspector accepted every single one of our arguments and obviously we think that’s the right decision.

“The thing that made us keep going when it looked like would never get there is that we absolutely knew that people in Harrogate knew what Carluccio’s was about and wanted us.”

He added: “We believe that a year after we are open, even those people who didn’t think it would be a good thing will think, actually Carluccio’s is bringing something extra to Harrogate.”

Plans for the shop frontage still need to be approved by Harrogate Borough Council but Mr Kossoff is confident the restaurant will open in spring 2014.

He said: “We will probably hire 35 staff, we will look for local management and train them at other branches, all of the staff will be local as far as we can.”

A spokesman for Harrogate Borough Council said: “The inspector did appreciate the council’s concerns that a non-retail use could dilute the high-quality shopping area of James Street but attached more weight than the council to the amount of retail floor space that the applicants were proposing for the delicatessen.

“The prime objective for the council was to protect Harrogate’s unique shopping offer and we are pleased to see that the inspector upheld our general approach in seeking to protect the primary shopping area but in this case was persuaded that the balance was in favour of the applicants and their revised proposals.”

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