‘Amazing’ plan for £300K York pub revamp could be blocked by council

Under the plans, the Old Grey Mare will revamped complete with a wine cellar. Images: planning documents

Plans to revamp a popular pub may not go ahead – as developers say the council does not like the scheme.

As we first reported in July, The Old Grey Mare on Clifton Green could undergo a dramatic transformation – with a micro-brewery, deli and wine cave created on site.

Developers want to invest £300,000 in the pub – revamping the outbuildings and creating a glass atrium and pergola.

Neighbours are keen on the scheme – one wrote a letter to the council in support of the plans saying: “I think this is an amazing addition to the local area.

“The pub is a complete eyesore and it’s about time that it was turned into something more inviting that locals and families can enjoy together.”

Another wrote: “We are residents living close to the Old Grey Mare and welcome this proposed development to update this rather sad but historic public house to modern day standards.”

But the developers say the council’s conservation team object to the plans, meaning they might not go ahead.

Scheme ‘respects inn’s history’

How the revitalised pub would look, showing the glazed extension and wine cave

A spokesperson for developer Oakfield Group said: “We are designers and build some amazing structures, particularly in glass.

“Planning and change of use applications were lodged in early July and a decision was to be given early this month.

“Although we have spent a considerable amount of time and money to design a scheme that respects the history of the inn and has minimal disturbance to the building, low visual impact using lots of glass and retractable roofs, the planners have advised now that the York conservation area advisory panel said they ‘do not like it’, in spite of not having visited the property and providing no specific reasons.”

The company is asking for a meeting with the conservation advisors, so that “we can resolve any specific issues they have”.

“However all elements of our design are vital to the success of this venture and thus saving the Old Grey Mare from closure and dereliction.

“The OGM needs big investment to be brought up to date and be a successful asset to the community.

“In these times of Covid where pubs are closing by the hundreds the government have given direction that new development, particularly where it is an asset to the community, should be given the green light.

“There are many new jobs at risk on this exciting venture, 15 to 20, that would be lost.”

Design concerns

Conservation experts are concerned by the planned changes

The council’s design, conservation and sustainable development department say they cannot support the planning application for the Grade II-listed building and recommend plans for the glass extension and awnings are removed, as well as other changes to be made.

In a letter they say: “The glazed extension to the north side of the building is a substantial addition.

“Whilst subservient and set back from the frontage, it is nevertheless a bold addition whose materials and design mark a stark contrast with the host building adding a new design element to the site at odds with its historic appearance.”

“The awnings to the front are strident additions to the building and the street scene.

“They would have the effect of separating the elevation into an upper part and a lower part, undermining the strong vertical emphases which add interest to the building.

“They are unwelcome additions which harm the cohesive design of the building.

“There is insufficient detail provided in the heritage statement to be able to assess the full impact of the proposals on the interior of the building.”

View the planning application here.