PLANS for a new bar and restaurant on the site of a former chapel in the centre of York could be given the go-ahead this week.

The listed 161-year-old building in Little Stonegate, linked to the former Borders store, has been earmarked for a new eating-out spot. The proposals will go before a City of York Council planning meeting tomorrow.

The scheme has been drawn up by Leeds-based ARC Inspirations LLP. It focuses on the former Methodist chapel, which became a printworks in 1901. The firm said it hopes to gain a licence for an outside dining area if planning permission is granted.

Council planners have recommended the application for approval, although the Guildhall planning panel has objected.

Members say the proposals will mean retail space is lost. Other objections claim the area is becoming “dominated” by bars and this has led to more noise and late-night disturbance.

ARC Insprations LLP already runs restaurants and bars in Leeds and Harrogate and its application said the company had been searching for a site in York for several years before focusing on the three-storey Little Stonegate building.

Planning permission for a youth cafe on part of the site was granted last year, but this has not moved forward.

A report by development management officer Jonathan Kenyon said the building had been vacant since Borders closed in 2010, since when fashion chain Cult has moved into the Davygate side of the site.

It said the design of the former chapel and printworks “does not lend itself to retail use”, and the fact it had been empty for almost three years meant the restaurant scheme would not harm the “vitality of this part of the city-centre”.

“While there is a concern that adding to the number of bars and restaurants in the area will increase late-night disturbance, this is a city-centre location and the impact has to be weighed against the public benefit of bringing the listed building back into use,” the report said.

It has yet to be confirmed which restaurant operator may open in Little Stonegate or how many jobs may be created if the plans are approved.