Campaigners have won an appeal to save their neighbourhood pub from being turned into flats by developers.
More than 800 people signed a petition calling for The Jubilee Pub on Balfour Street – which has been closed for three years – to be protected.
City of York Council’s planning committee refused an application for the upper floors of the building to be turned into apartments and a smaller pub to be created on the ground floor in May 2016. The developer appealed the decision to the planning inspectorate.
But it has sided with the council – saying the pub could become a “focal point” for the community and that it would be an “unacceptable loss” to the area.
Luke Thomson, chair of the Leeman Road Residents’ Association, said he was pleased with the result, adding:
We’re delighted that the appeal has been dismissed.
Local residents have voiced their opposition to these plans since they first emerged, and they worked incredibly hard to support our campaign to save The Jubilee.
This result came about in no small part due to their efforts and we call on the developers to engage with our community and work with us going forward.
‘A focal point’
A report by planning inspector John Morrison said there are no other sites in the area that could offer function rooms for clubs and events or a “quality outdoor drinking space”. It adds:
The [applicant] reiterated their stance that the appeal scheme did not result in the loss of a community facility since it sought to retain a public house use on part of the ground floor.
I agree, but only to a point.
The loss in this case … would be what The Jubilee has to offer that is not readily available locally, mainly in the shape of the additional lettable space it can provide as well as a sizeable outdoor space.
In this respect it is not just the sale of drinks to passing or regular patrons to consider.
The provision of usable floor space for functions, socially connected sports teams or meetings for local groups can act as a focal point for a community otherwise bereft of such provision and a good quality outdoor space would be beneficial to a business in the summer months.
The developers had claimed the pub was not viable – with the number of customers falling.
But residents said it is close to the York Central site and likely to become more popular when 2,500 new homes are built on the land.
‘Just needs a chance’
Cllr Kallum Taylor also welcomed the result, saying: “The Leeman Road area deserves a win, and we’re delighted with this outcome. As local councillors we’re proud to have actively supported the Residents’ Association’s campaign, and congratulate everyone who played their part in this effort, from the residents themselves, to CAMRA, and other local experts.”
Cllr Taylor said the pub “just needs a chance in the right hands” and called for people to get in touch. He added:
It was clear when petitioning, and from just living here in the area, that the Jubilee just needs a chance in the right hands – away from national pub companies who run these places into the ground, and away from developers siphoning off community assets for their own investment opportunities.
It is critical now that those interested in running a pub and community space out of The Jubilee – including local residents themselves – are given a meaningful chance to put their case over. Anything we can do to help, we will.