Opposition is building to plans to tear down an historic York pub.

YorkMix revealed last month that a developer has applied to demolish The Magnet on Osbaldwick Lane and replace it with nine terraced houses.

Both York Camra (Campaign for Real Ale) and Osbaldwick councillor Mark Warters have already said they will oppose the plans.

Now York Civic Trust and Osbaldwick Parish Council have set out their opposition in the strongest possible terms.

Best interior in the city

The inside of the Magnet
The Civic Trust objects on two main grounds, says chief executive Dr David Fraser:

  1. because The Magnet is an asset of local importance, holding architectural and historic significance
  2. and because the demolition is likely to damage archaeology around the site.

Dr Fraser writes:

  • CAMRA consider this public house to have one of the best surviving inter-war pub interiors in York, including the bar’s arched back fitting and bench seating, the lounge’s original woodwork, a glazed dividing screen and original tilework.

    The application seeks to demolish the public house in order to build nine terraced houses on the site.

    This will see the permanent loss of this non-designated heritage asset of local significance, as well as the structure’s historic and architectural significance.


He moves on to state that the site is next to a Romano-British field system, which suggests “the possibility of having a Romano-British settlement in the area”, adding:

“Given the building’s contribution to the streetscape, its location being of archaeological interest, and its architectural and historic significance, the Trust objects to this application in its current form.”

‘Trashing’ a community asset

Could it still be viable as a pub?
Meanwhile Osbaldwick Parish Council “object most strongly to the proposed loss of a formerly important community facility and a building of historic and architectural merit both inside and outside, that by virtue of which has merited a listing on the York Local List”.

Louise Pink, clerk to the council, writes:

  • Given the historic and architectural merit of the building as well as its size the Parish Council are disappointed that opportunity has not been sought to renovate the building even if not used as a public house, thereby retaining a landmark building rather than simply trashing it to maximise development returns.

The council also questions the insistence, by developers Moorside Developments that the Magnet is no longer viable as a pub:

  • The parish council don’t believe that Enterprise Inns had made the sort of financial investment over the past five, ten or even 20 years to give The Magnet a fair chance to thrive as evidenced by the current state of exterior repair.

    Deliberate, managed decline is a term that springs to mind.

It says a realistic opportunity to sell off the public house as a going concern should be explored fully before considering this application for redevelopment.

You can read more about the application here.