Thanks to tireless campaigning by hundreds of people, from York and beyond, the Carlton Tavern has been brought back from the brink.
Councillors had originally voted to see the Victorian pub demolished and replaced by a modern luxury care home.
But that vote was embroiled in controversy. Unusually, councillors agreed to consider the plan again.
And at tonight’s planning committee, the proposal was rejected by seven votes to six.
It was refused on the basis that the loss of the Carlton Tavern, a heritage and community asset featured on the York Local List, was not outweighed by the need for older people’s accommodation.
This is a terrific example of people power, as hundreds of locals joined national heritage champions and groups to overturn the original decision and save the Carlton for York.
What they said
Here are some of the comments given at the council meeting on Wednesday evening (December 13).
For such a significant heritage asset, insufficient evidence is provided to justify demolition
– Mike Heyworth, Victorian Society
To approve it would be to wave a flag to any and all developers to use the Local List as a handy reference tool of sites assumed to be primed for irrefutable sustainable development. The loss would be some of the city’s most appealing and quirky buildings
– Dr Duncan Marks, York Civic Trust
We can have the best of both worlds here. A vibrant community local and increased social care capacity
– Nick Love, York CAMRA
Care home provision should not be used as a pretext for the loss of York’s heritage. Enough has been lost in the last two decades to draw a line in the sand
– Cllr Mark Warters
What happens now
The owner of the Carlton Tavern, pub chain Marston’s, had agreed to sell the site to Crown Care to build its new care home.
Now that has been rejected, Crown Care might lodge an appeal.
But with the backing of national groups like Save Britain’s Heritage and the Victorian Society, campaigners are confident that the planning grounds for rejecting the proposal are robust enough to survive an appeal.
Another offer has gone into Marston’s from a group of local business people. They want to buy the Carlton, and keep it as a not-for-profit community hub, incorporating holiday lets and accommodation on the first floor, and a microbrewery, restaurant, café and deli on the ground floor.
Marstons said they wouldn’t negotiate with other parties until the planning process was over. The ball is now in its court.
One of the leading lights in the campaign to save the Carlton Tavern is Louise Ennis.
She told YorkMix: “It’s amazing! I’m overjoyed that the right thing has been done. Texts are already flooding in because people are delighted with the outcome.
“It’s a victory for local people. It’s been recognised that heritage is really important to local people where they live, not just to attract tourists into the middle of York.”
She described it as “such a big win for the future of York’s history and heritage”.
“Had they agreed to demolish the Carlton – to go ahead with the care home at the expense of heritage in York – that would have set a nasty precedent, given that there have already been quite a lot of demolitions of Victorian buildings in the last few years.”
She thanked councillors for their response to the outcry.
“Councillors did actually listen to those arguments, and voted for local people and where they live.”
Nick Love of York CAMRA agreed. “It’s a fantastic result for all involved in fighting to save The Carlton Tavern, which has been a collective effort from many parts of the community, he said.
“York CAMRA is delighted that again York has sent a very clear message that it is not an easy touch for pub companies looking to offload their properties for monetary gain whilst destroying local heritage and community pubs that would be viable under community ownership.”