New city centre bar with rooftop terrace gets the go ahead

A rooftop terrace is part of the proposal to turn the Mali barbers into a restaurant / bar. Photographs: Richard McDougall
26 Jun 2018 @ 7.58 pm
| Food & Drink, News

A new city centre bar has got the go-ahead, but councillors have heeded police pleas for earlier closing times.

The Mali barber’s shop on Whip Ma Whop Ma Gate in York has now got both planning permission to convert into a bar – complete with rooftop terrace – and a licence to serve alcohol.

The licence was granted at a hearing on Monday (June 26), when councillors heard the applicants argue against the police’s demand for 11.30pm closing.


Agents Hilary Ramli and Roz Ramli argued that police were basing their case on the wrong crime figures, and said forcing the new business to close at 11.30pm instead of 1.30am would hit its business model.

However, North Yorkshire Police’s Sgt Jackie Booth said another late opening bar in the area would add to an already stressed situation.

Crime and disorder

The salon is on the corner of Colliergate
Whip Ma Whop Ma Gate is in the cumulative impact zone (CIZ) – a city centre area identified by the council as being under stress from crime, disorder and public nuisance – and Sgt Booth said the application did not show why it should be considered an exception to the rules.

She also said the proposed closing time of 1.30am was common for bars and “vertical drinking establishments” – but not for restaurants.

Closing the new bar earlier would stop more customers spilling out onto the streets at the same time, and would stop the nearby taxi rank becoming crowded and disordered in the early hours.

This aerial view shows the salon’s flat roof in the middle of the picture. Photograph © Google Street View

“If they were agreeing to earlier closing times, we would have withdrawn our objection,” Sgt Booth added.

“We feel this is a more manageable timescale.”

Cllr Margaret Wells, who was chairing the three-strong panel, questioned Sgt Booth over the police’s objections but the three councillors finally agreed to grant the licence with the police’s conditions – including

  • 11.30pm closing
  • full table service
  • and rules around door staff and the number of chairs available.

After the hearing, the building’s owner Mehmet Simsek said he was planning to move the existing barber’s shop into another premises.

Close to Stonebow House

The food hall was planned for this end of the ground floor of the revamped Stonebow House. Photograph: Richard McDougall
The new bar will be just over the road from Stonebow House, where developers want to open an upmarket new food hall in a revamped ground floor.

A licensing application for that venue was withdrawn at the end of May, after heavy opposition from neighbours worried about the potential for more noise and disorder from another late opening food and drink outlet.

At the time, Try Market Halls said they would be talking to the community and holding a full public exhibition in July, to tell people more about their plans before trying again.