Three separate businesses want a piece of the former Mulberry Hall shop on Stonegate.

A cocktail bar, a restaurant and a Christmas shop from Germany have submitted plans to move into the 15th century timber-framed building.

Mulberry Hall sold china and glassware on Stonegate for 60 years, but closed for good last month.

Now three businesses have applied to City of York Council for either planning permission or alcohol licenses for businesses at this plum location on York’s most prestigious shopping street.

The Botanist is a chain of bars, and it wants to create a York venue on 15-19 Stonegate.

Gusto Restaurants is part of the same group which operates The Botanist, and plans to move in to 2-4 Little Stonegate.

And connected with neither, Käthe Wohlfahrt is a German gift store, and is “the market leader in the area of traditional German Christmas items” – and it has submitted plans for 17-19 Stonegate.

This shows the former Mulberry Hall premises, and where each business wants to move in

This plan shows the former Mulberry Hall premises, and where each business wants to move in

The Botanist

The Botanist in Leeds takes part in breaking the record for the largest gin tasting. Photograph: Botanist Leeds on Facebook

The Botanist in Leeds takes part in breaking the record for the largest gin tasting. Photograph: Botanist Leeds on Facebook

What’s the company?

The Botanist is a chain of bars run by the New World Trading Company based in Knutsford, Cheshire. There are nine already operating, including one at the Trinity Centre in Leeds.


What are the York plans?

The Botanist has applied for a premises licence in 15-19 Stonegate. It wants to sell alcohol on Sunday-Thursday from 10am to midnight and on Fridays and Saturdays till 1am, staying open half an hour later. It is also asking for permission to play live and recorded music.


What’s the sell?

“A concept like no other, offering a soon to be world-famous selection of botanical cocktails, craft beers and ales, Champagne and wine. Food inspired by the deli, rotisserie and BBQ. With live music every night, sublime social times are guaranteed!”


What can you buy?

Cocktails: Watermelon and sage sling, £7.50; apple and vanilla watering can, £24.95 (to share). Other drinks: Sipsmith gin, £8.95; wine: 175ml glass, £4.25. Food: Fish and chips, £12.95; steak, cheese and onion sandwich with chips, £9.95 (prices from the Leeds menu).


Gusto Restaurant

The Gusto Restaurant in Leeds. Photograph: Gusto Restaurants

The Gusto Restaurant in Leeds. Photograph: Gusto Restaurants

What’s the company?

Gusto Restaurants Ltd is a chain also with its HQ in Knutsford Cheshire. There are 13 already operating with two more opening soon. The nearest is on Greek Street in Leeds.


What are the York plans?

Gusto has applied for a premises licence in 2-4 Little Stonegate. It wants to sell alcohol on Sunday-Thursday from 10am to midnight and on Fridays and Saturdays till 1am, staying open half an hour later. It has also applied for a licence for live and recorded music.


What’s the sell?

“Our classic and contemporary Italian menu takes fresh, carefully selected, simple ingredients to create the best tasting food around.”


What can you buy?

Typical dishes on the menu: Pan roast duck breast, £15.95; tagliatelle with prawns and garlic, £12.50; 175ml glass of wine £4.65; lemon and thyme martini, £8.50; Stella Artois beer, 330ml, £3.95.


Käthe Wohlfahrt

The Käthe Wohlfahrt Christmas gift shop in Oberammergau, Bavaria, Germany. Photograph: Käthe Wohlfahrt

The Käthe Wohlfahrt Christmas gift shop in Oberammergau, Bavaria, Germany. Photograph: Käthe Wohlfahrt

What’s the company?

Family run Käthe Wohlfahrt is a specialist for Christmas decorations and Christmas items based in Rothenburg, Germany. As well as six German shops, there is one shop in each of France, Belgium and the United States.


What are the York plans?

Käthe Wohlfahrt wants to open its first UK branch in the former Mulberry Hall store. It has submitted a planning application for various changes to the ground and first floor of the shop on 17-19 Stonegate, which would include re-opening a former doorway to Stonegate, modifying the staircase, rewiring the building and opening up one part of the floor “to form Christmas tree display”.


What’s the sell?

“Our specialist shops, lovingly designed and arranged with great attention to detail, take our visitors into a Christmas world.”


What can you buy?

The online shop sells all sorts, including Black Forest cuckoo clocks from £310, and Christmas baubles for £6.37. There are music boxes, the most expensive of which is £1,600, and advent calendars for £15.


‘York doesn’t need more bars’

Stonegate at night. Photograph © Allan Harris on Flickr

Stonegate at night. Photograph © Allan Harris on Flickr

Plans to bring a new bar to Stonegate have already received criticism. The council has so far published two written objections to the application to turn 15 Stonegate from retail use to a restaurant and bar.

One came from York resident Dave Hartley, who works in another bar on the street. He wrote:

Working at a bar currently on Stonegate I’m very aware of the issues York has on a weekend with non York residents causing issues around York city centre.

The number of bars in the Stonegate area has increased by 50% in the last 2 years alone. This has also increased the problems in this part of town. Adding another chain bar to the area is only going to increase the issues and make it harder for independent bars to survive.

The bar I work for and another on Stonegate are not allowed to have bar planning permission for the front of their buildings. Why should a chain be granted this when actual residents of York are not and are forced to compromise their businesses?

John Pace of Earswick agrees:

This is a listed building and should be treated as such.

I would also like to add that York does not need any more bars or restaurants – it is full of them.