Controversial Wetherby Road Starbucks would ‘change our lives’, say residents


May 17, 2021
David Stephenson, whose house on Coachmans Court is next to the drive-thru site on Wetherby Road.
David Stephenson, whose house on Coachman's Court is next to the proposed Starbucks site on Wetherby Road.

A controversial plan for a drive-thru Starbucks on Wetherby Road would adversely affect lives, according to residents who live next to the site.

The proposals by Euro Garages would see the coffee shop built on the former 1st Dental surgery site.

Harrogate Borough Council has refused the plan three times and a government planning inspector has also turned down the application.

But the authority has now withdrawn its objection to the latest plans, leaving residents to fight an appeal by the developer themselves.

David Stephenson, who has lived on Coachman’s Court with his wife for six years, is among those fighting the proposal.

Mr Stephenson’s house is next door the proposed site and he would be able to see the serving hatch of the Starbucks from his lounge window.

The view of the proposed Starbucks site from Mr Stephenson's bedroom window.

The view of the proposed Starbucks site from Mr Stephenson’s bedroom window.

He hoped for a quiet retirement when he moved to Coachman’s Court but said the Starbucks would change that if given the go ahead.

Mr Stephenson said:

“I think it is going to change our lives.

“We live in a nice, quiet cul-de-sac and this is not what we wanted in our retirement.”

He added that residents do not object to the site needing redevelopment, but said a drive-thru coffee shop would only increase traffic at the Woodlands junction.

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The junction is the only air quality management area in Harrogate, which obliges the local authority to improve air quality.

Another resident, Joanne Richardson, said she had concerns about the noise, pollution and number of cars coming through the site.

Ms Richardson has lived directly behind the former 1st Dental site for five years and her bedroom window would look out onto the drive-thru.

The view of the site from Ms Richardson's bedroom window.

The view of the site from Ms Richardson’s bedroom window.

She said she was frustrated with the plan and expressed concern over the nitrogen oxide levels from cars to nearby properties.

Ms Richardson added that she “could not believe” that the council would no longer be defending its decision to refuse the plan.

In her consultation response for the appeal, Ms Richardson said:

“I am very frustrated to be in this position again, despite this proposal being rejected by Harrogate Borough Council again.

“This is not a case of Nimbyism. I am genuinely concerned on the impact of this proposal not just on my health and those residents surrounding the site, but also the impact on residents quality of life and wellbeing.”

Cllr Pat Marsh, a Liberal Democrat who represents the area on the council, said the development was another example of “big companies pushing for planning applications” to be put through.

The proposed layout of the Starbucks site on Wetherby Road as submitted to Harrogate Borough Council. Picture: Euro Garages.

The proposed layout of the Starbucks site on Wetherby Road as submitted to Harrogate Borough Council. Picture: Euro Garages.

Another appeal

Last week, the council announced it would not be defending its refusal of the proposal by Euro Garages.

The multi-million pound company, which also operates drive-thru facilities for KFC and Greggs, will be taking the council to appeal on June 15.

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John Worthington, the council’s executive officer for development management, said officers could not stand successfully at appeal because their previous recommendation would “undermine” their case and that losing also risked legal costs of over £50,000.

A council spokesman told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that not contesting the appeal “hasn’t been an easy decision to make” but was “the best way forward in this instance”.

As a result, residents will appear at the hearing to defend the council’s refusal and have called for expert help ahead of the appeal to support their case.

The Stray Ferret approached Euro Garages for comment on the concerns, but did not receive a response at the time of publication.

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