PLANNERS have voted to defy landlords from a North Yorkshire market town and give a national pub chain their blessing for a new nightspot.

The post office will have to relocate to make way for a J D Wetherspoon's pub, in Richmond.

The old sorting office and the counter service, which overlooks Queen's Road, will be swallowed up by the development.

Post Office management are confident a new base can be found in the town centre and with minimal disruption.

Although no address has been confirmed, a letter included in a report to a Richmondshire District Council meeting, on Tuesday evening, indicated relocation could be planned to coincide with a Bank Holiday.

However, the news is unlikely to mollify existing publicans, already battling dwindling trade - a problem exacerbated more recently by the foot-and-mouth epidemic.

They claim the number of pubs in Richmond is already at saturation point, with some on the brink of collapse.

Calculations suggest there is a pub for every 75 people who live within a half-mile radius of the town centre.

There is also concern Wetherspoon's reputation for cut-price promotions could lead to more late-night violence in the town centre.

But their arguments failed to sway the planning committee which approved Wetherspoon's application - albeit with a strict list of conditions.

The Mayor of Richmond, Councillor John Harris, also suggested signs on the building should be muted and blend with the architecture.

After the decision he said: "I do regret this building is going to become a pub, because it extends the public house area out into a part of Richmond that has been quiet and free of pubs."

Landlady at The Town Hall Hotel, Nita Galvin, said yesterday: "I'm not sure there's much more we can do to resist it now.

"It will be some time before anything is built anyway.

"We will just have to wait and see what happens when the new licence comes up at court on April 30.