Alan Evans helps Euro Garages secure permission for a drive-thru coffee shop in Harrogate

In a decision letter dated 16th July 2021 planning inspector Helen Hockenhull allowed the appeal of leading forecourt operator Euro Garages against the refusal of Harrogate Borough Council to grant planning permission for a drive-thru coffee shop on the site of a former dental laboratory on Wetherby Road in Harrogate. In a further decision letter on the same date Inspector Hockenhull made a full award of costs against the Council on the basis of unreasonable behaviour. Alan acted for Euro Garages as part of the professional team which secured the successes.

The decisions represent the culmination of a long battle with the Council by Euro Garages to redevelop the site for the type of food and drink use which is now an integral part of the company’s convenience offer and they follow a scheme redesign after a dismissed appeal in 2018 in respect of an earlier, larger drive-thru coffee shop proposal on the site. Inspector Hockenhull found the redesigned proposal acceptable in all respects and considered the Council’s conduct (which eventually included the belated withdrawal of its reasons for refusal) to have been unreasonable on a multiplicity of grounds.

The decisions will be of interest to all drive-thru operators/their advisers and they provide an object lesson in how a developer prepared to show flexibility in relation to its proposals and to back them with appropriate expert evidence may be able to surmount setbacks. At the same time, they provide a salutary reminder to local planning authorities of the kind of unreasonable decision-making which will incur a full costs award and place further unnecessary strain on limited public resources.

The appeal decision letter and costs decision letter may be found here.

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