A NEW bicycle cafe is set to open in York after its proprietor won a licensing battle at the city council.

Ellis Thackray faced a licensing panel hearing at the City of York Council yesterday in his bid to open Bicis y Mas on Walmgate, in premises that formerly house G A White's furniture store.

Four neighbours attended the hearing, and another two wrote to the board before the meeting, to set out their objections to the cafe plans.

The residents who live in flats around the site and many of whom back on to or overlook the cafe's terrace, and many were concerned noise from cafe customers would disturb their peaceful homes.

Neighbour Ray Price said: "This is a residential area and the property is overlooked by a number of places in St Denys Court, and is very close to a number of back gardens."

He went on the say the application would add another licensed premises to the already busy street, which has recently seen licences granted to The Hop and Fossgate Social further up the road.

His neighbour Chris Walker added: "I have a young family and I am very concerned about noise. But I think it is possible to open this shop and cafe with sensible conditions on the licence."

But owner Ellis Thackray, who said he has previously run successful businesses and cycled competitively, said he did not intend to use the outdoor terrace after 6pm, and would not be encouraging smokers to congregate outside his cafe.

His solicitor Tim Shield confirmed the license application did not include the terrace, meaning alcohol could not be taken outside, and earlier applications to allow live and recorded music at the cafe had been withdrawn.

The three councillors on the panel eventually put aside the neighbours' concerns and granted the licence, with conditions that no alcoholic drinks are taken outside and a minimum number of tables and chairs are maintained inside.

Mr Thackray said they now hope to open the bike shop, repair workshop and cafe on August 20, selling European style city bikes.