‘A sad but familiar tale in York’ – Club to be turned into 16 flats

A former working men’s club will be turned into 16 flats after the scheme was granted planning permission.

The former New York Club on Blossom Street, which sits between the two Premier Inn hotel buildings, will be redeveloped.

But some councillors said they would have preferred to see the site used by a community or arts organisation, despite the poor state of the building.

City of York Council’s planning committee heard that six working men’s clubs have closed in the city in the past decade.

Under the plans the main building will be turned into eight flats and a three-storey block will be built in the garden to create a further eight apartments.

Graeme Holbeck, speaking for the developer, told the meeting: “It’s a sad but familiar tale in York where at least six working men’s clubs have closed their doors in the past decade. This is a long term viable use for the building.

“There have been no strong objections to this proposal and the benefits far outweigh the impacts.”

Fell into debt

The New York Club on Blossom Street, York. Photograph © Google Street View

He told the committee that York Civic Trust welcomed the plans.

The club closed in January 2019 and was one of the oldest in York – being open for about 90 years, according to the applicant. But it struggled with member numbers, fell into debt and in September 2018 a majority vote was taken to close it.

The club had a library and was “a social meeting place with strong educational links” according to a council report.

Micklegate councillor Jonny Crawshaw told the meeting: “This is a building that has a lot of potential to be a really beautiful asset for the city.

“It’s in a sorry state at the moment and I absolutely want to see buildings like this brought into use. I don’t feel comfortable that enough has been done to retain this community asset.

The block of flats in the former club’s garden. Image: planning documents

“I accept that this is an expensive site to redevelop and that makes it difficult for an arts or cultural organisation to come in.”

But Cllr John Galvin said: “I welcome this application because the building is in a pretty atrocious condition. I’m interested in conserving old buildings and I think at the end of the day we are going to end up with something the city can be proud of, that has been renovated to quite a high standard and will certainly look better than it has looked for the past few years.”

The plans were approved by a majority vote.