A SMALL-scale scheme to sell tea, waffles and crepes in a conservation area overlooking a historic fishing village has overcome a wave of concerns it will lead to national food and drink outlets flooding the tourist hotspot.

A planning meeting of the North York Moors National Park Authority heard entrepreneur Graham Kemp's plan to open a tea hut on the seafront Quarterdeck at Robin Hood's Bay had triggered both consternation and support from villagers.

Mr Kemp told the meeting between 1,600 to 2,200 visitors a day visited the Quarterdeck, and dismissed objectors' claims it was "an area of contemplation and tranquility".

He said his 3m by 4m tea hut would add to tourism in the area near the Cleveland Way and Coast to Coast trails as there was a gap in the market for "the health-conscious tourist".

Mr Kemp scotched concerns it was remote from the village centre, saying there was a fish and chip shop just 45 metres away.

He said there was a need for the tea hut, adding: "I have witnessed tourists on many occasions tourists stuggling down the steps with children whilst attempting to carry hot drinks and fish and chips."

Louise Shackleton, on behalf of more than 50 residents objecting to the proposal, said the village already had 22 food outlets and the tea hut would take tourists away from the hub of the village.

She said the tea hut would set a precedent for further development on the Quarterdeck, which could be run by large-scale retailers "turning the historic village into yet another generic seaside resort".

Graham Irving, chairman of Fylindales Parish Council, said residents did not want to see "the jewel of North Yorkshire forever blighted" by further seafront huts.

Planning committee members said the scheme created a conflict between the national park's policies of attracting tourists and conservation. 

Several members warned granting planning consent for the tea hut would create difficulties in challenging future plans for the area and could lead to firms such as Costa Coffee or Greggs moving onto the seafront.

Jim Bailey, chairman of the park authority, said: "It is a busy place, but it is also clearly outside the main hub of the village. You have to draw a line somewhere. The local people of Robin Hood's Bay clearly want us to protect this area."

However, the majority of committee members said they felt there was a demand for the tea hut and said claims it could lead to firms such as Greggs setting up seafront kiosks were a "vast exaggeration".

Member Leslie Atkinson said: "Next year is the 50th anniversary of the Cleveland Way and there are big celebrations planned. More people will be walking it than ever and they will all want a cup of tea.

"When you arrive at a cafe with a crowd of muddy boots, rucksacks and sweaty noisy people it can be a bit embarrassing when all you want is a quick cup of tea. And you are not always welcome because you don't spend enough.

"This tea hut will provide a very welcome addition to the amenities there."

To address concerns over managing the development, members agreed to impose an unusual planning condition on the scheme, that it would only remain approved while Mr Kemp owned a home overlooking the site.