Plans to build a city centre Prezzo

Plans are underway to convert Burton into an Italian restaurant.
Plans are underway to convert Burton into an Italian restaurant.

A national Italian restaurant chain has set its sights on opening up in Ripon, after Burton Menswear suffered a dip in trade.

Prezzo restaurant, which has around 150 chains across the country – including a unit in Harrogate – has submitted a planning application to convert Burton on Market Place from a retail unit to a restaurant.

In a letter from Arcadia Group, which owns Burton, to Harrogate Borough Council, the retail brand said a decline in sales at the Ripon store has led them to market the property.

David Wood from Arcadia Group’s property team said: “The application has come about as a result of a consistent decline in trade over the past five years. In early 2012 a decision was taken to find a tenant as it was no longer financially viable to remain trading.”

Mr Wood added the only other interest Arcadia has received other than Prezzo was from “pawn broker type operators”.

“Over the last few years the face of retail has changed so dramatically that we simply cannot expect our town centres to function exactly as they have done in the past,” he said.

But the borough council’s planning team recommended the application for refusal at a meeting on May 9, arguing it would be a “inappropriate loss of a significant retail unit” and be “harmful to the vitality and viability of the shopping centre”. The application has been deferred by the council to the head of planning services, who will make the final decision.

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