Five people have objected – including York Minster – after an historic hotel applied to extend the hours it serves alcohol.
Grays Court wants to extend its alcohol licence by an hour to 11.30pm Sunday to Thursday. It already has an 11.30pm licence on Friday and Saturday.
It also seeks permission to extend late night refreshments hours to the same time.
North Yorkshire Police have not objected after the hotel agreed to operate a Challenge 25 Age Verification Policy.
Under its existing licence the 12-room hotel, found close to York Minster, has CCTV coverage, documented staff training, a refusals register and more.
However, York Minster and other neighbours strongly object to the plan to serve alcohol later during the week.
A letter from the Minster’s Chapter Office says: “The predominant, long-established uses of the precinct are ecclesiastical, residential and open space, which combine to create a notably quiet environment.
“It is, in Chapter’s opinion, in the overriding public interest to protect and preserve the substantial public amenity value of the quiet character of the precinct, for the benefit and amenity of the people of York, and for the benefit and amenity of the many members of the public who visit it, and the residents who live in it.”
York Minster points out that residents of its properties in the Deanery, Minster Court and Chapter House Street would all be affected.
“Any noise created by licensed activities at Grays Court in the otherwise virtually silent hours of the late evening will be an immediate, unwelcome and unacceptable intrusion and nuisance,” the letter states.
It goes on: “In Chapter’s opinion, the times of day during which the applicant is currently permitted to operate licensed activities at the premises provide a fair, reasonable and workable basis for a hotel and hospitality use of the premises that minimises detriment to the special character or public amenity of the surrounding area and minimises adverse impact on the occupants of nearby private residences.
“The extension of late-night licensed activity by the further hour once again applied for will increase the risk that immediate, unwelcome and unacceptable noise intrusion and nuisance will be experienced by the occupants of nearby private residences on every day of every week throughout the year.”
Another neighbour writes: “Although we have reported on numerous occasions complaints of noise and actions by the hotel which have caused disturbance and nuisance to myself and my neighbours, these have continued in the last five years…
“We object to any extension of hours approval for the applicant as this will increase the noise from the venue later into the evening which will in turn constitute a public nuisance.”
One Ogleforth resident writes: “The presence of the Minster, though visited by many tourists, gives the area a feeling of calm and tranquillity, even more so in the evening when fewer tourists are present.
“The area is already disturbed at times at night when the hotel hosts weddings or other events, with guests departing rather noisily either on foot or by taxi.
“The refusal of previous applications has been on the basis that later hours for drinking and eating at Gray’s Court by non-residents will inevitably mean more noise, potentially causing a public nuisance.”
And a Chapter House Street residents points out: “It should also be noted that the area around Chapter House Street is and will firmly remain a residential area in nature, due to the conversion of Church House from office use to residential use – therefore only more residents in the area will continue to be adversely affected should the extension of hours be granted.”
The licensing application will be discussed at a council hearing on Thursday 23 November. You can read all the documents here.