Residents of a North Yorkshire town are "in shock" after four popular businesses announced their closure in one week.

Business leaders and politicians in Richmond have expressed their concerns at the imminent loss of several long-established independent outlets.

York House antiques shop and Ravensworth Nurseries, which have become cornerstones of the North Yorkshire market town during decades of service, have both announced their closure.

The Fleece Hotel and Cross View Tea Rooms have also said that they will be shutting their doors for good soon.

The suffering of high street independents in Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's constituency has caused disquiet for residents and councillors in the area.

And with plans for a new designer village at nearby Scotch Corner well advanced, there are fears that town independent businesses could be affected further.

Paul Harrison, chair of Original Richmond Business and Tourism Association, expressed how "deeply worried" he was at the closures.

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He said: "The news has come as a massive shock for the community.

“All of them are small businesses and two of them have been here for decades.

“Ravensworth Nursery has been here for about 57 years and York House is at least 25 years old.

The Northern Echo: Ravensworth Nurseries has become a staple of Richmond in the decades it has been open

“It’s come as a big surprise because of how popular the businesses are.

“Small businesses are struggling as they have survived Covid, the rise in energy bills and now the cost of living crisis is punishing them even more.

“People know how hard it has been for independents but the news of four closing within a week has really taken them aback.”

Mr Harrison believes that there needs to be an appointed spokesperson who will champion the independent businesses in the area.

He added: “We need somebody, a professional, to be appointed to promote Richmond as a venue for businesses and events.

“We will soon be competing with the Catterick Garrison and the new development at Scotch Corner.”

Stuart Parsons, North Yorkshire Independent councillor for Richmond, explained that he expected no help from Mr Sunak, the town's MP.

He said: “Any business closing is a concern because of the loss of jobs and the empty space on the high street.

“The loss of Ravensworth Nursery is just dreadful, they have been a real pull for visitors coming to Richmond for decades.

“I don’t expect any help from Rishi Sunak, but we can still hope.”

Carl Les, Conservative leader of North Yorkshire Council, described how "disappointing" it is when businesses close.

He said: “The common thread between all of these closures is about rising costs of running the businesses.

“The cost of living crisis is not allowing demand to increase at the same time as rising costs.

The Northern Echo: York House has announced closure by the end of the year

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“The energy costs appear to be the focus of the problem.

“I support what the Prime Minister was saying over the weekend that we need energy security in this country.

“We must stop being dependent on despots like Putin for out energy and oil supplies.”

Rishi Sunak has been approached for comment.