Proposals to build an expansive hotel and restaurant and a country goods superstore on the edge of Leyburn have been submitted.
Garden and farm supplies retailer Sam Turner and Sons and pubs with rooms chain Inn Collection have applied to Richmondshire District Council for consent for the scheme.
Documents submitted for the hotel, which would sited on the former Dales Festival of Food and Drink field off Harmby Road, state alongside 40 ensuite rooms, it would feature a 158-cover restaurant, with a further 28 bar covers and 90 terrace covers alongside a play area.
More than 80m wide and over 60m deep, the proposed country store building would cover 2,730sq m – the average area of a Tesco superstore – and also feature a 1,012sq m outdoor area for garden centre sales, a play barn and a cafe.
A spokesman for the developers said: “The application seeks to enhance the provision of high quality, modern and accredited hotel stock in Richmondshire by providing a new hotel in Leyburn, a popular tourist destination situated in a gateway location to the Yorkshire Dales, therefore promoting the growth of Richmondshire’s tourist economy.
“Meanwhile, the provision of a new unit for Sam Turner & Sons Ltd would allow for the business to expand their presence in Leyburn, identified as an important focus for the local agricultural industry, a market which Sam Turner & Sons seek to serve.”
The developers have also claimed the store would increase visits to Leyburn, producing spin-off benefits for other shops and services in the town and as the building is only single storey so it would not dominate the town’s eastern entrance.
Leyburn county and district councillor Karin Sedgwick said an increased choice of places to eat would benefit the town as would the provision of a soft play centre, and welcomed the jobs the development would create. She said she was hopeful apprentices would be taken on.
Cllr Sedgwick said when nearby Tenants was hosting events and the Tour de Yorkshire was being staged there was often insufficient accommodation.
She added: “The world is expanding, England is expanding, Leyburn is expanding. This is evolution.”
However, residents have raised concerns the field is prone to flooding and could threaten the main road into Leyburn.
Resident Stephanie Exley said major traffic control measures would need to be drawn up to make the development safe for both pedestrians and road users.
She said: “There would also be an increase in pollution to say the least- is this really what we want for our beautiful town?
“If we continue to allow the decimation of the green areas surrounding Leyburn it will lose the character, history and beauty it is loved for that attracts visitors year on year and new residents.”
Some local businesses have also raised concerns.
Ruth and Trevor Hawkes run nearby Wensleydale Garden Centre.
They said: “We extremely concerned about the potentially fatal effect of this on our small business. We fear this competition could force us to close and also make our business unsellable.”
“We also consider this to be a most unsuitable and out-of-character development for a small Dales market town.
“We want to appeal to our customers and the local communities in Wensleydale and Swaledale to support us and lodge their objections.”
The couple added that because of the current crisis, people were not able to meet to discuss and coordinate responses to this or any other planning applications.
For more details on the plans click here.