Pub campaigners have a backer and a plan – but will councillors save it from demolition?

Flashback to a demo to save the Carlton Tavern in October 2017

Everything seems to be in place for the Carlton Tavern to have a bright and prosperous future.

The pub is based in a handsome and well-appointed Victorian villa. It has the support of many people, both local to the Acomb Road pub, and in the wider city.

There is a new vision for how it can become an even greater community hub, to the benefit of all ages and backgrounds.

And a backer has even come forward to turn this vision into a reality.

But if councillors don’t back this vision at a meeting tomorrow, the Carlton Tavern will be bulldozed, along with the hopes of the community.

Huge opposition

People gathered to support the Carlton Tavern

As we reported back in August, a plan is before City of York Council which will see the Carlton demolished.

In its place Crown Care want to build a three and four-storey, 74 bedroom care home.

More than 140 objections have been lodged against the plan – with people describing the proposed demolition as ‘disgraceful’, ‘criminal’ and ‘a disaster’.

What would replace it: plans for the care home

Groups from York Civic Trust to the Victorian Society to the Council for British Archaeology have condemned the plan.

And national journalist and heritage champion Maev Kennedy has added her voice to the chorus of disapproval, saying ‘If this can happen in York, there’s no hope for the rest of us’.

Despite this, council planning officers are recommending that the care home plan is approved.

Members of the planning committee meet tomorrow (Wednesday, October 18). If they vote to back the officers’ recommendation, they will sign the death warrant of the Carlton Tavern.

Alternative vision

Can the Carlton be saved?

Pub group Marston’s decision to sell the site sparked the demolition plan.

But in the last few weeks the community has rallied round and firm proposals are in place to make it the centre of the community in future.

Led by Joe Gardham of Social Vision, local people have put forward a way to make the pub a catalyst for social transformation of the area.

This vision includes a cafe, restaurant, microbrewery, play garden and enterprise hub based at the pub.

And all profits would be reinvested into the community.

This plan now has a backer. A York property developer and businessman today (Tuesday) submitted a bid for the site to Marstons, supporting Social Vision’s scheme.

The funder said: “The huge amount of local interest has merely confirmed our belief on the question of positive viability.”

‘Great response’

The rear of the pub

The news came as families and regulars turned out in silent protest against the plans to demolish the Carlton Tavern.

Questions were asked on site about the height and scale of the designs proposed by Crown Care developers which will extend to the front and rear of the Victorian building.

There were concerns about protection for the mature trees during building work should planning permission be granted.

But most of all there was a desire to save this building, dating from the 1880s, for future generations.

Joe Gardham said:

The scheme we’re proposing would support local businesses as well as providing an ongoing training programme for young people and the long-term unemployed in the area.

Profits would be inwardly invested to directly benefit Acomb, Holgate and Westfield.

We’ve had such great response from the community since we announced our proposal, we know there’s a need for a community facility like this.

Now all eyes turn to the planning committee taking place at West Offices at 4.30pm on Wednesday. Will they save the Carlton?