York riverside redevelopment threatens bars, claims major pub operator

·2-min read
Street View: Yates is the brown building in the middle. The site of the student flats just to the left. <i>(Image: Street View)</i>
Street View: Yates is the brown building in the middle. The site of the student flats just to the left. (Image: Street View)

An iconic York bar that has operated for 60 years warns it may have to close if an ambitious riverside redevelopment is approved.

And other entertainment and hospitality venues in the area could suffer a similar fate.

The stark warning comes in an objection from Yates on Church Lane to the plans from the York-based Helmsley Group.

Yates is next door to Boots, which faces demolition under the plans and being replaced with student flats on its upper floors.

Boots and Next set to leave sites in Coney Street, York

Yates owners, the Stonegate Pub Group, says the venue has traded successfully since 1963 and “has evolved over the years into a very popular local community facility.”

The late-night bar has a capacity of around 800, with a ‘very large’ terrace area, it said.

“This outside area, that lies in very close proximity to the planning application site, is regularly used by large groups of customers until closing time.”

Stonegate has told City of York Council, which is seeking comments on the scheme, that there have been very few complaints about its operations over the decades.

Helmsley Group submits plans to regenerate York's Coney Street

However, erecting student flats next door “will increase the potential for complaints by the new residents in respect of these established late-night uses.”

Their objection continued: “Any complaints from future residents of the application site could lead to possible licensing restrictions on the Pub Group's existing authorised late-night entertainment use and its respective operating hours.

“This in turn would adversely harm the profitability and viability of the venue, which could threaten the operation's survival; as well as potentially impacting upon other local, late-night, entertainment venues.”

“Existing businesses and facilities should not have unreasonable restrictions placed on them as a result of development permitted after they were established,” Stonegate also said.

The operator said as city centres are being redeveloped for noise-sensitive housing, “existing business are being driven away, leading to more vacant properties and lost commercial businesses.”

Mixed reaction to plans to regenerate Coney Street and riverside area of York

Stonegate cited two venues in London forced to close this way, but also others that were allowed to continue as before.

Their objection said  30 people are directly employed at the pub and 25 are indirectly employed, including cleaners and DJ, and such jobs were at risk.

Instead, Stonegate said “the applicant has under-assessed the very real issue of noise pollution.”

“Appropriate measures” for soundproofing the flats were needed, including triple-glazed windows, to show how it “can be accommodated into existing noisy environments.”

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The Helmsley Group had not demonstrated this, so their application was against planning policy, Stonegate concluded.

If plans were approved, Stonegate further warned: “The result could lead to closure of a number of employment generating long-established leisure venues.”

The Helmsley Group today declined to comment on Stonegate’s objection, but in response to other concerns about its plans it has said it wants to continue to work with key stakeholders throughout the consultation period.