New plans drawn up for ‘secret’ café in York city centre – but police and council object

A locked gate prevents access to Hornbys Passage. Photograph: Richard McDougall

Fresh plans for a “secret” restaurant in York city centre have been drawn up.

But neighbours, North Yorkshire Police and City of York Council have objected to the proposals.

The Kurdish cafe and restaurant – named Secret Square – would be opened off Hornby’s Passage, next to the Jack Wills shop on Stonegate.

The owners have applied for a licence for the premises – but have already been turned down once before following a hearing in February.

Police say they would not be against a restaurant opening at the site – but that the application does not include a food menu and may only serve snacks, with the kitchen closing an hour and a half before last orders.

They also point out that it is on the ground floor of a block of flats, with plans for tables and chairs laid out in an internal courtyard.

Noise concerns

Inside Hornbys Passage. Photograph: Licensing documents

The council says it is worried about noise – and has already had complaints about buskers in the area. Neighbours describing themselves as “elderly” said their “quality of life would be seriously compromised” by the plans.

But the applicants saw the cafe and restaurant will focus on serving food rather than alcohol, with room for 25 diners.

They say it will have CCTV and door staff on Fridays, Saturdays and race days.

And add that the courtyard would not be used by customers after 11pm Sunday to Thursday and after midnight on Friday and Saturday.

Families with children would be welcome at the restaurant until 7pm.

Under the plans, the cafe would open from 10am to 11.30pm, selling alcohol until 11pm. The previous application requested opening hours until 1am on Friday and Saturday. The virtual hearing takes place on Thursday at 10am.