Long-running plans for a drive-thru coffee shop off of Wetherby Road in Harrogate appear to be finished, after an appeal for the project was dismissed on Friday.
Applicants Euro Garages lodged an appeal after their proposal for the drive-thru Starbucks at 112 Wetherby Road was rejected by Harrogate Bourough Council in August 2017 amid concerns over the impact it might have on highway safety, air quality and nearby residents.
The appeal hearing was heard on November 14, with Planning Inspectorate representative Siobhan Watson releasing her decision to dismiss the appeal on Friday, November 30.
In her report detailing the reasons for dismissing the appeal, Ms Watson said that while she found the development would have no harm on highway safety or air quality, she couldn’t approve it because of the harm to living conditions to nearby residents.
Ms Watson’s report stated that, despite HBC’s concerns over traffic safety and congestion at the nearby Wetherby Road/Hookstone Drive junction, she found the development wouldn’t compromise highway safety.
“I note the council’s comments that traffic exiting the traffic light junction would not be expecting a right turn so soon afterwards but in my opinion, the existence of a drive-thru would be obvious as such premises are always conspicuous,” Ms Watson wrote.
She added that, despite council concerns over some traffic turning right across two lanes of traffic to enter the drive-thru, she was comfortable with the development due to the provision of a right turn lane and good visibility in both directions, and the manoeuvre not being uncommon on a busy road. Ms Watson also had no qualm with air quality.
While HBC was concerned that congestion would lead to more cars idling on highway, compromising air quality at the site, Ms Watson found that the council’s transport assessment indicated queuing on the road would not increase much, with the council unable to produce any technical evidence to dispute the appellant’s air quality reports.
However, it was the living conditions for surrounding residents that saw the appeal dismissed. Ms Watson wrote that activity at the site, such as car doors closing, noise from the voices of people going in and out of the proposed coffee shop and car stereo systems, could be “particularly annoying” for neighbours.
“Added to this, the fumes from idling vehicles, whilst not creating an identified health hazard, are likely to be unpleasant for the occupants of these dwellings
when they are in their gardens,” the report states.
While accepting the development would have a “mild economic benefit” for the area, Ms Watson surmised that the the “harm to living conditions would be so unacceptable that the appeal should be dismissed”.
The dismissal is the latest development in the protracted plans for the drive-thru coffee shop, with the proposal first lodged with HBC in April 2012.
That application was withdrawn the following October amid objections from local residents, before the revised application was submitted in 2017.
Lachlan Leeming , Local Democracy Reporting Service