‘Intolerable!’ Anger from 90-year-old residents at food hall’s late-night drinking plan

This shows where Lady Hewley's cottages are in comparison to the proposed food hall. Photograph © Google Street View
31 May 2018 @ 7.41 pm
| Food & drink, News

Some of York’s oldest and most vulnerable residents are objecting to a plan to turn a neighbouring property into a music and drinking nightspot.

Try Market Halls wants to open a contemporary food hall and market in the revamped Stonebow House. Documents submitted to planners show the company wants to open daily until 1.30am and sell alcohol between 7am and 1am.

They also want an entertainment licence – allowing them to host live and recorded music performances as well as plays and films till 1am.

But objectors include the police – and the elderly residents of Lady Hewley Cottages, just yards from the venue.

Police and council object

The food hall is planned for this end of the ground floor of the revamped Stonebow House. Photograph: Richard McDougall
Councillors will decide next Thursday (June 7) whether to grant Try Market Halls a licence.

The police and City of York Council’s public protection team have raised fears about the plans.

North Yorkshire Police said: “The application and operating schedule are very vague and more specifically they do not deal with how they seek to promote the licensing objectives.

“The operating schedule is not in line with that of a food hall / market based on the llcensable activity timings (01:00am daily), closing at 01:30 daily, and the conditions offered as part of the application.

“The hours proposed are also more in line with a bar/entertainment venue and not in keeping with a food hall / market as this premise purports to be.”

Officers want the closing time to be brought forward to 11.30pm through the week and 12.30am on Fridays and Saturdays, and want to see food always on offer and seats for at least 200 customers.

Council staff go further, saying the site had a history of noise complaints before its renovation, and the new venue should operate like a restaurant only selling alcohol to those eating a meal.

‘Unmentionable purposes’

The entrance to Lady Hewley’s cottages on St Saviourgate. Photograph © Google Street View
The residents of the Lady Hewley almshouses – some as old as 90 – have gone into battle against the plans too.

One writes:

I am a 90-year old resident of Lady Hewley’s Cottages, which is one of York’s historic almshouses.

These houses are only perhaps 30 metres from the premises in question. The 12 or so residents of Lady Hewley’s are predominantly over retirement age and many of us are in poor health.

The almshouses were built around 1840 and have traditional doors and windows which readily admit outside noise.

Any noise from the premises after 10.30pm (my usual bedtime) will disturb my sleep, and so if a licence is granted until 1am every night of the week, perhaps as much as 3 hours of my sleep will be disturbed each night.

Another Lady Hewley resident writes:

My neighbours and I have very unpleasant memories of the last occupants of that location, the Fibbers and Duchess night clubs, both which had poor reputations, where the police were often called out. I should not like that stress level to be repeated.

As I live approximately 50 yards from the premises, I shall, as before, be troubled every night by the noise of continuous beat music, especially when their windows and doors are opened to let the heat out.

In addition people sometimes drunk, leaving the premises often make rowdy noises in St Saviourgate or Stonebow in the early hours, shouting, singing or arguing, general public disorder.

Some also made their way into our private gardens for unmentionable purposes.

And a trustee of the Lady Hewley charity said: “If this application was to succeed, the disturbance to the elderly residents in the almshouses would be intolerable and unacceptable and would be detrimental to their health and safety.”

Another objector, not a Lady Hewley resident, writes:

How can a simple collection of food market stalls require a licence to be open so early and so late?

The only reason for staying open so late is to draw in customers who are very drunk and disruptive and give York a bad name.

Furthermore, it is my belief that the drug dealing will come back to this area if these premises are allowed to operate a late night, every day licence.

The licence hearing takes place at the City of York Council West Offices HQ on Thursday, June 7, at 10am.