TRADERS claim a bid to create a new tea room at a Dales visitor attraction will be detrimental to local businesses.
Cafe and restaurant owners in Hawes say a planned revamp of the Dales Countryside Museum should be re-thought because it would discourage visitors from exploring the rest of the town.
The tea room proposal is part of a range of improvements proposed by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) to celebrate the 30th birthday of the museum, which is on the site of the old railway station at the edge of Hawes.
But local traders fear visitors to the museum will venture no further if they can also get a coffee or lunch at the venue.
A number of local traders attended a packed meeting of Hawes and High Abbotside Parish Council last week to voice their concern over the development.
Colin Bailey, chairman of Hawes Business Association, said: “There is a fear the cafe would have an impact on visitor flow throught the rest of the town. If this goes ahead there will not necessarily be an incentive for visitors to venture out into the main shopping area.”
YDNPA officials have been holding a series of events and displays to hear what people think about the plans and this consultation period comes to an end on September 29.
Museum manager Fiona Rosher said: "We have heard from a lot of people in the community so far – individuals, traders, visitors and organisations – and we have received many, very constructive suggestions.
"We hope to get more comments from others before the consultation period finishes."
If the tea room gets the go-ahead from YDNPA’s own planning committee, it would be offered as a local business opportunity rather than run by the authority itself.
The proposals also include the creation of a more visible entrance and reception area, the refurbishment of the permanent displays and a space in which to feature artistic work inspired by the Dales landscape, wildlife and cultural heritage.
Information about the proposals is available at www.yorkshiredales.org.uk/dales_countryside_museum.
Views on the plans can be sent to the authority in a variety of ways: - by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, in person at the museum, by written comments to boxes at the National Park Centres or by telephone to 01969-666214.