A business group has raised objections to a plan to turn a shop space into a restaurant.
Uno Ristorante, which already has outlets in Yarm and Middlebrough, has applied for planning permission to turn a shop into a restaurant.
The shop at 30 Market Place was recently a discount store called Goodwins but is now being used by Yorkshire Trading as an extension to its nearby premises.
This story continues after the adverts:
However, Richmond Business and Tourism Agency has written to the district council to oppose the plan.
A letter from chair of the group, Marcia McLuckie, says members are against the change of use.
She said: “They want to see Richmond grow as a shopping centre and new retailers move into the town to complement existing, successful businesses and contribute to the vibrancy of the town centre.
“With the loss of retail space footfall in the town will be detrimentally affected.”
Supporting documents submitted with the change of use application from Gracey Architecture state: “Although it is still currently occupied as a shop, the retail use is unsuccessful.
“Efforts have been made to market the premises for retail use, but this has been unfruitful.”
They add: “The marketing evidence shows that the retail use of the building is no longer required and cannot be made viable.”
A supporting letter submitted with the application says the company had tried to find a retail tenant for the premises, with Sainsburys interested in recent years, but non could be found.
However, the letter from RBTA states that one of the group’s members was interested in finding out more about the property as they could be interested in relocation.
Mrs McLuckie said: “They have found it impossible to find anything about the property.
“I have done an online search this morning and failed to find any advertisement for the property.
“I have, however found that the New Treasure Garden and Crossview Restaurant are both up for sale, as is Barretts in Rosemary Lane. I have tried telephoning Mr. Kearns’s office, without success – call transferred to abroad ring tone and not answered.
“I also tried to find the property on CoStar, but found the site too difficult to access.
“With the above evidence, one has to ask how well the property has been marketed to the retail sector?”
Mrs McLuckie said that several members had also queried the viability of a third Italian restaurant in the town and the impact on the existing two.
She also suggests than the planning authority should have better supported the application by Sainsburys.
“There is a strong feeling amongst members that Richmond is badly served for supermarkets, which sends residents out of town Catterick, Darlington and Northallerton,” she adds.