‘Nothing short of criminal’: Fury at plans to bulldoze landmark York pub

Can the Carlton be saved?
29 Aug 2017 @ 7.03 pm
| Environment

As handsome now as it was when built in the 1880s, this popular York pub could soon be bulldozed to the ground.

And people from councillors to conservation groups to locals are queuing up to condemn the plan.

The Carlton Tavern, on Acomb Road, is still very much an active pub. But a proposal that goes before City of York Council planners next month would see it closed and demolished to make way for a modern care home.

It is a notion condemned as ‘disgraceful’, ‘criminal’ and ‘a disaster’ by infuriated locals.

‘Total and unjustified loss’

An artist’s impression of the care home planned for the site

The plans now in with the council would see the Marston’s owned pub destroyed in order to make way for a three-storey, 79 bedroom care home run by Crown Care.

Several conservation groups are objecting to the pub’s demolition.

The Victorian Society slammed the “the total and unjustified loss of a locally significant building” which would cause “harm to the quality and character of the local streetscape”.

Mike Fox, director of Save Britain’s Heritage, pointed out that the Carlton Tavern was picked out in the influential Pevsner architectural guides.

“It has considerable historic and architectural interest, evidenced in its recent local listing, and its demolition would substantially harm the character and quality of the local area.”

Dr David Fraser, of York Civic Trust, said that the Carlton Tavern building “is the last of the four grand Victorian/Edwardian villas that once were seen along Acomb Road”, adding:

The proposed demolition of The Carlton Tavern would therefore erase all evidence of a style and size of Victorian / Edwardian properties that as a result of development and under appreciation are becoming increasingly hard to find examples of in York.

And York CAMRA called for the plan to be refused: “York has a wealth of great buildings that have been maintained in line with principles of sustainability and good stewardship. It’s a fundamental reason for its appeal.

“We therefore believe that The Carlton Tavern would be far better kept as a public house for the enduring benefit of the local community.”

Save it for future generations

A handsome Victorian villa, it dates back to the 1880s

Two serving councillors and one former council leader have also objected.

Cllr Keith Myers (Conservative, Acomb ward) urged planners to save the building “so that future generations can admire this wonderful Victorian mansion”.

Cllr Andrew Waller (Lib Dem, Westfield) also wants the pub safeguarded, while former leader Steve Galloway said the building “makes a significant contribution to the streetscape in this part of Acomb”.

Meanwhile the council’s Conservation Areas Advisory Panel regretted the possible loss of this building, and “felt that the replacement building would be a poor substitute”.

And city archaeologist John Oxley called the building “of historical, architectural and social significance” and urged that it be converted rather than demolished.

‘Destroying our heritage’

Many love the pub and the building

Here are a selection from the many objections from York residents to the plan:

It’d be nothing short of criminal if the building was to be demolished. Not only is it a great asset to the community, it’s the only pub on this part of York where all are welcome and has the facilities to accommodate families and children alike.

– Stephen Aaron, Harold Court

I find it utterly disgraceful that such a wonderful and historic buillding can be just demolished to make way for modern day eyesore.

– Steve Kilner, York Road, Acomb

It would be a true shame and a huge loss to the community if these plans were to go ahead.

– Emma Lloyd, Thoresby Road

The Carlton is the only building of its age left in the Acomb area. For the area to lose this handsome building to be replaced by yet another bland modern edifice would be a disaster.

– Lisa Valentine, Carr Lane

This is outrageous. That beautiful building lost forever.

– Julia And John Coggon, Hobgate

The proposed demolition is a wasteful and crass destruction of what is an old historic Victorian building erected in 1880s which represents and is part of the history of the local area.

– Eddie Land, Lindley Street

Yet again another social meeting place is getting bulldozed. We need these places for the mental wellbeing of people to get out and socialise with their family and friends.

– Sheryl Toyne, Lowfields Drive

This is a building of historic significance and value, it greatly enhances the Acomb/Holgate area, and it is perfectly capable of being converted internally whilst retaining the facade.

– Alan Crompton, Moorgate, York

There is little doubt that there is need for care facilities but this need not be at the expense of a building of such historic and aesthetic importance.

– Keith McInnis, The Green, Acomb

While I appreciate that this is not a listed building, it is undoubtedly historically significant. The existing building displays high-quality period design features incorporating mock-Tudor and Arts and Crafts styles and is therefore an excellent example of York’s suburban Edwardian architecture.

– Richard Beattie, Hamilton Drive

It’s a community pub a place where family and friends rely on meeting. It’s the only safe and communal place to bring families. The building is beautiful and should not be destroyed.

– Samantha Kirk, Nursery Drive

It would such a shame to demolish such a historic building when there are very few left outside of the city centre… The pub forms an important asset to the community which is relied upon by many young and old.

– Gemma Weeks, Dodgson Terrace

Another artist’s impression of the replacement building

This would never happen if it was within the city walls. This is the only family pub in the area.

– Richard Weeks, Dodgson Terrace

It would be a disgrace to knock down such a beautiful historic building that so many people rely upon in the local community.

– Chloe Lawton-Burnett, Oldman Court

The Carlton Tavern adds great value to the social community of Acomb. We are losing so many public assets, it may be necessary for City of York Council to protect the the community from commercial interests.

– H Howden, Firtree Close

I strongly object to the tearing down of such a wonderful building and the closing of a popular family pub. There is not another meeting place with a large beer garden, play area for children and such a great atmosphere as The Carlton.

– Sarah Bushby, Milner Street

It’s time to listen to the local people rather than the money making corporations and leave this building standing. Otherwise I think we should all have a good think about where it stops. Why not knock Treasurer’s house down and put a supermarket there?

– Joanna Funnell, Green Lane

Destroying such a beautiful Victorian property is destroying the heritage of Acomb.

– Alison Jowett, York Road, Acomb

Conversion ‘not possible’

The rear of the pub

Crown Care say the care home is vital for a city already short of 657 residential and nursing care beds.

But it can’t convert the pub because it needs to achieve ‘economies of scale’.

“It is not possible any longer to sustain the early 80s/90s model of operating care homes from converted Victorian and Edwardian villas,” it says in a document submitted to the council.

“Such existing buildings are inefficient, impossible to bring up to current standards with regard to fire separation, acoustic attenuation, and to functionally perform with regard to the extra space required to provide wheelchair accessibility throughout.”

History of the Carlton

When it was the Godfrey Walker nursery

Victorian villa named West Garth originally owned by the Russell family. From 1945 to 1970 it was the Godfrey Walker Children’s Home.

It became a hotel and in 1993 was bought by Marston’s Brewery when it became a public house. One of very few remaining buildings from this era in Acomb. Architecturaly impressive.

Its loss would diminish the character of the area.

– Source: York’s Local List