Planning inspectors urged to reject Colburn Starbucks plan

The site of the proposed Starbucks drive thru.

Government planning inspectors will be told a scheme to create a Starbucks drive-thru cafe, two retail outlets and a car park in Colburn instead of a traditional-style market square surrounded by shops should be rejected.

As Richmondshire District Council’s planning committee debated the benefits and drawbacks of the proposal for Woodland Avenue in Colburn some 15 months after the planning application had been lodged, members were told the decision on whether to approve it had been taken out of their hands and the local democratic process.

The meeting heard the developers had submitted an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate claiming the council had spent too determining the proposal, meaning the local planning authority no longer had the legal jurisdiction to decide whether it should be approved or rejected.

Councillors were told planning officers had spent more than a year negotiating  “fundamental changes to the scheme” with the developers, such as road issues, in an attempt to make the proposal more acceptable.

The meeting was told the talks “had got to a point where both the developers and the planning officers felt they could not compromise any more”, so the proposal was put before the council’s planning committee last month.

However, that meeting heard claims Colburn residents had been “sold down the river” as the original planning permission for the area had featured a range of shops and market square creating 135 jobs instead of just 35 at the proposed drive-thru coffee shop site, so councillors voted to defer a decision and ask officers to restart negotiations.

The developers then said they were unwilling to discuss changes with the council and instead appealed to the Planning Inspectorate.

At the latest meeting councillors were asked to provide the Planning Inspectorate with an indication of what their decision would have been.

The meeting heard unlike the case in almost every significant planning application, the developers had failed to discuss their plans with residents, alienating their potential customers by not being willing to discuss concerns such as bringing commercial traffic into a residential area.

Colburn member and council leader Councillor Angie Dale said it was poor design and failed to take opportunities to improve the area’s character.

She added: “Our Local Plan is there to protect us, but on this one I believe the residents of Colburn have been let down. I agree that the area needs to be developed, but what we have in front of us doesn’t fit.”

She said the initial plans of creating a town centre with shops had been “absolutely fabulous”, but the land had been sold on to other developers who dropped the market square plans.

The committee agreed to tell the Planning Inspectorate it would have rejected the proposal on design grounds and the impact of traffic on nearby residents.

1 Comment

  1. Due to COVID things will never go back to normal and drive through and stand alone shops are the way forward.
    What planet are the councillors on who in there right minds wants more shop!! They will stand empty and look an a complete eyesore this is a wrong move they will regret if this does not go ahead. Get real councillors the world has changed!!

Comments are closed.