More than 200 people have objected to plans to transform a former bank into a three-storey restaurant in the heart of Whitby.
The application for the former NatWest property at 78 Baxtergate has been submitted by Morgan Lloyd Jones Project Management, though many of those who have written to Scarborough Council to make their feelings clear believe it will be another fish and chip restaurant in the seaside town.
Consultation on the application will not close until the end of the month and already 236 people have written urging the council to refuse permission for a change of use.
Whitby Civic Society also opposes the application, though neither the town council nor North Yorkshire Police have objected.
In its submission, the civic society says it has doubts over claims in the application that 50 new jobs will be created.
It states: “While we welcome the retention of employment opportunities, we think the proposer’s projected number of jobs is highly optimistic; and compared with office work, much catering work is characterised by precariousness, low skills, and low wages.”
In the plans, it states that 170 covers would be possible in the restaurant.
The local grapevine has been buzzing with rumours that the business behind the planning application is fish and chip shop chain Papa’s, which has restaurants in Hull and Scarborough.
Many of those who have objected have said they are concerned that it could be another chip shop.
Margaret Hall, of Sandgate, Whitby, wrote to the borough council stating: “The very last thing Whitby is in need of is another fish and chip shop.
“This plan to turn the bank into a fish and chip restaurant is an insult to Whitby – and the multitude of such businesses (big and small) that have carved out a well-earned reputation for serving locals and visitors.
“The universal reaction from by far the majority of people on hearing what the NatWest might become is a resounding ‘say it isn’t so’.”
Will Jones, of Morgan Lloyd Jones Project Management, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that he was unable to comment on the potential use of the building or the business behind it for confidentiality reasons.
Papa’s Fish & Chips has been approached for a comment.