York rooftop bar and restaurant plan is back – despite previous objections

A rooftop terrace is part of the proposal to turn the Mali barbers into a restaurant / bar. Photographs: Richard McDougall
2 May 2018 @ 6.23 pm
| Business, Food & drink

Controversial plans to create a café and rooftop restaurant in York’s shortest street have been revived.

Mehmet Simsek, who owns Mali Unisex hairdressers at 5 Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate, wants to develop the building and then find a new home elsewhere for the salon.

His plan is to create a restaurant and bar with dining available on what is now the flat roof.

Mr Simsek sought planning permission for the changes twice in 2016, but he withdrew his first application then saw the second rejected.

City of York Council refused the plan, saying the roof terrace…

  • would have been out of keeping with the area
  • and would have drawn further attention to a building that they say already detracts from the area.

The council also said proposed seating on the pavement would have hindered the flow of pedestrians.

Guildhall Planning Panel had called the proposed roof terrace “ridiculous” and said pavement seating would have led to accidents and potentially more crime.

Owner hits back

A wider view of Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate

Mr Simsek is now trying for a third time to secure planning permission, and has hit back at the previous criticism.

A statement submitted with his new planning application says:

If you actually take a look at the rear of the site you can see this is an unsightly space neglected by the occupiers.

Unsightly barbed wire fencing covers most of the flat roofs and most windows have wrought iron bars to stop any intruders from breaking in.

These two parts alone are not very sensitive to the historic character of the site.

The statement said Mr Simsek’s plan for a folding door screen, plants and wrought iron railing would be “a great addition to this unsightly space and will enhance this area to great effect.”

It added: “The Guildhall Planning Panel have put an objection in stating the proposals are inappropriate in this location and that the rooftop terrace is ridiculous and seating in the street will only bring about accidents and could also increase crime – we feel this is a very inappropriate way to describe our proposals, and unprofessional.”

The salon is on the corner of Colliergate

The building currently has permission for A1 planning use, which covers shops and a few other uses, including hairdressers.

Last month, YorkMix revealed that 42 shop buildings in York city-centre had been turned into restaurants, cafes or bars since the beginning of this decade, with a further ten being targeted.

If you want to see the latest Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate application, or comment, all the documents can be seen here on the council’s planning website.