Plans to convert Whitby’s harbourside tourist information centre into a restaurant and ice cream parlour have been discussed by councillors.
Scarborough Borough Council is relocating the information centre to premises near the harbour as part of budget cuts.
The authority’s planning and development committee is being told by Whitby Civic Society and a number of residents opposing the switch, that the tourist centre is of major economic and community value to the town.
But the committee is being recommended to give the green light to the new restaurant role for the centre in a scheme put forward by GEM Construction.
It will be run by Whitby-born Michelin star chef Andrew Pern, who runs the prestigious and award-winning Star restaurant at Harome. Objectors are claiming that the new use would bring “unwelcome” competition to existing businesses and they also claim it will have a detrimental visual impact on Whitby Abbey – and that it will create increased litter problems which will aggravate the town’s gull problems.
West Cliff ward is also recorded as having the second highest fast food and takeaway outlets in the borough and the objectors say the proposal will not improve the social and environmental conditions.
Objections also state that Dock End is one of the few remaining public open spaces in Whitby and the external seating area would change the character of the area. The council has highlighted the shortage of open public space in Whitby in the Green Space Audit, they say.
However senior planning officer David Walker, says: “Allowing the change of use to a restaurant and parlour would bring the building back into viable economic use.”
He said outdoor seating for the restaurant overlooking the harbour would further add to Whitby’s vitality and vibrancy.
Supporters of the change of use also say it will encourage more improvements in the area.
A council decision is due t.