Planners have thrown out a proposal to turn three quarters of a York pub into flats.

An application to create four apartments out of the first and second floor of the Jubilee on Balfour Street was refused by City of York Council.

Members of the planning committee turned it down because they considered the conversion “to be an unnecessary loss of valued and important social, recreational and cultural facilities”.

“Furthermore the loss of such space would not be a modernisation that is considered necessary or beneficial to sustain the
public house use for the local community,” the ruling stated.

The decision has been welcomed by campaigners.

Nick Love, of York Camra, said: “We don’t feel that the pub would survive with such a drastic reduction in its trading area.

“We got the impression the pub was a means to an end which was making a profit from the development of the upper floors for luxury flats.

“We’re delighted to see that City of York Council has recognised the value of this public house as a community asset. In the right hands this pub could thrive – as a freehouse out of the hands of a pub company with their inflated rents and beer prices.”

‘Such a small space’

Viable with the right business model: the Jubilee on Balfour Street

Pub company Enterprise Inns shut the Jubilee in July 2016. This was followed by the first planning application from Tri Core Developments and Ormerod Design – to turn the pub into six flats.

That idea was rejected because the council wasn’t satisfied the Jubilee had been marketed properly to allow for interest from other parties wishing to purchase it as a public house.

The pub was put back on the market as a going concern, with an asking price of £230K for a long lease. One prospective purchaser came forward but a deal could not be reached.

This was followed by the latest application, to preserve the ground floor as a pub and build flats above.

Tim Kinslow, who had bought and revived the fortunes of The Leeman pub on Leeman Road, said the terms on which the pub was being offered – and the loss of the higher floors – made it an unattractive purchase.

In an objection to the latest plan, he wrote: “It is clear from the plans that only three-quarters of the internal space is for flats and only one quarter of the internal space is allocated for public house use including the kitchen.

“When you subtract the bar and kitchen area less than one-sixth of the building is available for community use.

“Such a small space – limits trade and therefore future viability – which could later result in a loss of the quarter remaining public house.”

Two possible buyers

Another owner soon?

According to York Camra, there are currently two other parties interested in purchasing the Jubilee “that represent a better proposition for the future of the pub than that under Tri Core Developments.

“They have approached York Camra and made us aware that they are serious and credible.”

Nick Love, the organisation’s pub protection officer, said the Jubilee is officially listed as an Asset of Community Value “and should be treated as such by any owner”.

There are two games rooms that previously hosted darts and pool teams and, he said, “the function room can again host a wide range of local groups and organisations who could hold meetings, socials and celebrations there”.

Nick told YorkMix: “We would like to see the owners do the right thing and enter into constructive dialogue with prospective buyers with a view to concluding a sale which would not leave them out of pocket – but equally would place the pub in the hands of a local owner who would run it for the benefit of the local community.”