Another attempt to partially convert a York pub into flats has been rejected.
Councillors refused permission to turn the first and second floor of the Jubilee on Balfour Street pub into three flats – a decision acclaimed as ‘brilliant’ by campaigners.
And they said there was now a great opportunity for local people to take over the Jubilee and run it for the benefit of the community.
Attempts to change the pub into flats have been going on since April 2016. More than 800 people signed a petition opposing the idea, and a government inspector rejected a previous application.
This plan, by Tri-Core, would have retained a small pub on the ground floor, and function room on the first floor.
It was recommended for approval by council officers – but members of the area planning committee turned it down by ten votes to one after hearing the smaller pub would be ‘unviable.’
‘The right decision’
After the meeting Nick Love, the York Camra pub protection officer, said: “This is a brilliant outcome.
“I’ve been opposing this development since the first application in April 2016 (and wrote about it in YorkMix) so it’s fantastic to see informed local residents, organisations, councillors and even licensees getting together to soundly reject this unwanted development that would rob the community of a vital community asset.
“Councillors listened carefully, asked relevant questions and made the right decision during a very long meeting.
“Hopefully now the developer will get the message that they’re just not welcome after numerous unsuccessful applications including a government inspector rejecting an appeal.
“I’d love the local community organisation that has been formed specifically, to be able to now purchase The Jubilee.”
During the meeting, he told councillors: “The game-changer is the new Covid-related community ownership fund – where the local community now has access to up to £250,000 of match funding.
“So, if a local community group finds between £200,000 and £250,000 locally through a fund-raising scheme the what they could do is get a further £250,000 from the government to match fund that.
“That would make it very feasible to buy the pub from Tri-core at a commercial price and convert it and pay for renovation as well.”
He said local fundraising for the Lord Nelson in Nether Poppleton showed that this figure was achievable.
Trojan horse tactic
York publican and chair of the Campaign For Pubs Paul Crossman told the meeting that the Volunteer Arms in Holgate was also going to be turned into flats.
But planners turned that down – and now he runs it as a going concern which is “hugely valued” by local people.
He said the plans for the Jubilee were a ‘Trojan horse tactic’: “The vastly diminished pub that is left within these new plans is simply not a viable proposal.
“The over-development of the upper floors into three tiny private flats will inevitably result in noise issues which cannot be completely prevented.”