Spark:York applies for permission to keep its winter roof

The canvas roof going on at Spark:York in October. Photograph: Spark:York on Facebook

The directors of Spark:York have applied for planning permission to put a temporary canvas roof over the venue for winter – despite the canopy already being installed in October.

A retrospective planning application has been submitted to City of York Council for the roof.

The application says the “stretch tent canopy” will remain in place until the end of April.


It adds: “The application for a winter canopy is to ensure the project can remain sustainable and functional during winter months, to retain footfall and the sustainability of the businesses at Spark:York, and ultimately Spark:York.”

The roof was installed in October without planning permission and the venue was temporarily closed while council engineers inspected the canopy.

Council leader intervened

Speaking at a meeting on October 25, council leader Cllr Ian Gillies said: “This does not have consent from the council. The council has acted quickly and written to the tenant and requested the site not open to the public until there has been an inspection by engineers.

“Spark has voluntarily agreed not to open until structural engineering approvals are in place. We have issued a formal notice as they are in breach of the terms of their lease, there is not planning consent or landlord consent.”

An artist’s impression of how the roof would look included with the planning application

A council report prepared for a meeting on Monday (December 3), said the local authority is “monitoring the situation very closely”. It says:

  • The tenants installed a roof canopy without the requisite consents.

    Due to the breach in the lease, the council as landlord issued of a forfeiture warning notice and is monitoring the situation very closely.

    Those fire safety aspects falling within the council’s building regulation remit concerning the structure have been addressed; these relate to occupancy and materials.

Meets safety standards

Another of the artist impressions
The council report adds that, although some concerns were raised about safety at the venue, Spark:York meets the required insurance and safety standards.

It says: “There have been a number of concerns raised about public safety relating specifically to the Spark:York facility.

“The organisation has a lease with the council as landlord with clear requirements around compliance with relevant legislation, including health and safety legislation, and has in place all relevant insurances and safety certificates.

“Addressing one or two of the points raised Spark:York has installed a lift which has building control sign off and systems in place to manage the capacity of the venue within approved levels.”

A spokeswoman for Spark:York said: “Our submitted planning application is now live, and we look forward to receiving an outcome from the local planning authority in due course.”

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