Letter: Restaurants - Unsustainable level of growth

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It was interesting to read the article on the Yorkshire Meatball Company (Harrogate Advertiser, September 15) and their positive outlook despite the unending influx of national dining chains which are changing the face of Harrogate.

I agree with Gareth Atkinson that competition is healthy – it acts as a generator to maintain good standards.

However, there are negative sides as Gareth points out, such as the impact on the unprecedented demand for well-trained chefs and other hospitality staff.

In this respect and based on personal experience, the opening of new dining chains has reached an unsustainable level in Harrogate which is having a direct impact on established and local eateries.

There are only so many staff and so many people to keep these places open and sooner or later one or more of them will not survive and then we will be left with empty shop units.

We may well soon reach the stage when the majority of shops in Harrogate are occupied by dining establishments and the pleasure of a normal retail experience will no longer exist as we have known it.

I’m not saying there must be no progress or change or a mixture on offer to suit all tastes but, thanks to our planners, the unique quality of Harrogate which attracts visitors to this town could disappear. They allowed the 100 per cent loss of retail space with the redevelopment of the former Beales store which is now occupied by national dining chains along with the recent opening of the Everyman.

The same is happening along Parliament Street with yet another fast food outlet about to open.

What we need in order to maintain a healthy town centre is a mixture of good quality retail use which will benefit Harrogate as a whole in the years to come.

Is Harrogate Borough Council capable of delivering this or will they carry on as usual without listening to the people they represent?

Barry Adams