Hambleton District Council’s planning committee said they need more information about Beckwith Knowle Developments’ plan to build 21,000sq ft of trade counter space, two drive-through restaurants, a petrol station with a 5,000sq ft shop, up to 15,000sq ft of office space and 190,000sq ft of office space.
An agent for the developer said the site, to the west of Darlington Road, had been earmarked by the authority for employment use only, but the drive-thru restaurants, petrol station and shop were crucial to the proposal’s viability, as they would offset the cost of building roads to the industrial units.
During a council meeting, she said: “There will be substantial benefits with bringing the site forward for development.
"These include a high quality gateway to north Northallerton, the delivery of the wider site for employment and the delivery of services which will serve the North Northallerton gateway development and also the Standard Way industrial development to the south.”
But councillors representing the area raise a range of concerns about the proposals, ranging from building on open countryside to exacerbating flooding issues.
Councillor Paul Atkin questioned whether “high quality retail units” mentioned by the developer, such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Chanel, Dior, Armani and Yves St Laurent, Burberry and Prada, should be encouraged to locate in the town centre rather than the outskirts.
He said: “Town centres are hard enough to reinvgorate without any new threats to them. As regards the retail aspects this application would be extremely detrimental to Northallerton.”
Councillors also heard developers aiming to build a neighbourhood centre for the large housing estate on the opposite side of Darlington Road, believed the Beckwith Knowle scheme could deter retailers, including Aldi, from locating at their centre.
A spokesman for developer Eshton Castlevale said its scheme would “provide the missing piece in the jigsaw for the north Northallerton urban extension”.
“By contrast the application before you today provides roadside cr-based sprawl that will damage this important gateway to the town,” he added.
The meeting also heard concerns the scheme would see land designated for employment used for shops, meaning fewer job opportunities for the residents of the north Northallerton estate.
Councillor Andrew Robinson said: “I don’t think we should be allowing retail on this site. We should be resisting it and putting more things on their for people to work. Jobs are the important thing.”