Plans for a restaurant in the heart of Whitby have been approved despite almost 500 people objecting to it.
Scarborough Council’s planning officers have granted permission for the former NatWest building at 78 Baxtergate to be transformed into a three-storey eatery.
The planning application for a change of use for the building, Morgan Lloyd Jones Project Management Ltd, does not specify the type of restaurant that would open; however, rumours swept through the town that the name behind the scheme was fish and chip chain Papa’s.
In total, 486 people wrote to Scarborough Council to object to the plans, many saying that there were enough places to buy the favourite seaside meal in Whitby already. Others just begged for something new in their town.
One of those objectors, 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’.”
Whitby’s Civic Society also expressed doubts over claims in the application that 50 new jobs would be created.
Both Morgan Jones and Papa’s, which has restaurants in Hull and Scarborough, have refused to confirm the nature of the restaurant in the town.
Despite the nearly 500 objections – and seven in support – the application was granted by council planning manager David Walker without the need for it to go before councillors on the planning committee.
The planning officer’s report into the application states that a great number of the objections had nothing to do with planning law.
It states: “The main reason for objection in the majority of the representations received was based on the fact that the objectors considered that Whitby did not need another fish and chip restaurant.
“However, it should be noted that the issue that needs to be considered in planning terms is whether a restaurant use is acceptable in this location, and not the type of restaurant operation proposed. In this case the restaurant operation is not specified.”
Mr Walker granted the applicant full planning permission, subject to the applicant satisfying a number of conditions regarding odour extraction, refuse collection and delivery times.
The new restaurant could serve up to 180 people at a time.