Stonebow House development must protect music venues, says council leader

Stonebow House

Stonebow House

First published in News
Last updated
York Press: Photograph of the Author by , Political Reporter

THE potential redevelopment of a city-centre office block which has been branded the worst eyesore in York must not harm two popular music venues based beneath it, the city's council leader says.

City of York Council's Labour cabinet agreed to spend £62,250 earlier this year on taking sale ownership of the land on which Stonebow House stands, with the eventual aim being to develop all or part of the site. Options could include demolishing the block, which was built almost 50 years ago but is largely unloved by residents.

The York authority is in the process of buying North Yorkshire County Council's share of the site's freehold, which had been retained by both councils since Stonebow House was built in the mid-1960s, following the collapse of a property portfolio which included the site.

The holders of the building's leasehold went into administration last year and the city council believes controlling the freehold would make any future development proposals easier.

In his speech to Thursday's full council meeting, Coun James Alexander will say that if development plans are drawn up for the site, current occupiers - including gig venues Fibbers and The Duchess - must be considered, saying: "The council is pursuing the purchase of the remaining freehold.

"This will give us a greater stake in any future redevelopment which may occur upon the site. Any new development must be sensitive to existing businesses, primarily the music venues."

The council has said all options for the future of the Stonebow House site - which is not listed - will be considered. Campaign group York Sustainable Development Project said last month that "innovative design" could transform its heavily-criticised appearance, saying that while it was "undoubtedly ugly", it could still be converted into apartments, restaurants, bars and shops.

Coun Alexander will also say he is awaiting written confirmation from the Government about the impact of the impending closure of women's open prison HMP Askham Grange, near York, after the Ministry of Justice last year said dedicated jails for female offenders were no longer needed and they should serve their sentences closer to home. The announcement came five months after inspectors described the prison as "remarkable".

Along with Lord Mayor of York, Coun Julie Gunnell, and Liberal Democrat leader Coun Keith Aspden, Coun Alexander met new Justice Minister Simon Hughes earlier this month, and said: "The minister has given me assurances that prison provision will not be diminished and all 100 Askham Grange employees will be offered new employment within 60 minutes' travel time."

Comments (15)

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10:39am Mon 24 Mar 14

imassey says...

While I welcome the news that the music venues are to be protected, I thought there was an embargo on new bars in the City.
While I welcome the news that the music venues are to be protected, I thought there was an embargo on new bars in the City. imassey
  • Score: 9

11:00am Mon 24 Mar 14

RingoStarr says...

Cllr Alexander is tuly a visionary of the highest order and his plans, like all else he does for York, are momentous and so clearly thought out.
With best wishes,
Herbert Acker
Cllr Alexander is tuly a visionary of the highest order and his plans, like all else he does for York, are momentous and so clearly thought out. With best wishes, Herbert Acker RingoStarr
  • Score: -10

12:20pm Mon 24 Mar 14

notmyrealname says...

If maintained and used for the people of York this building would be far less an eyesore than some of the monstrosities that have been passed over the last few years
We must Keep Gibbers and the Fuchess - no way these venues could relocate ...
If maintained and used for the people of York this building would be far less an eyesore than some of the monstrosities that have been passed over the last few years We must Keep Gibbers and the Fuchess - no way these venues could relocate ... notmyrealname
  • Score: -4

12:25pm Mon 24 Mar 14

Pinza-C55 says...

In a sensible world the 2 music venues could have been moved to a refurbished Reynards Garage (owned by the council) then Stonebow House could be flattened. I bet Reynards would even have good acoustics.
In a sensible world the 2 music venues could have been moved to a refurbished Reynards Garage (owned by the council) then Stonebow House could be flattened. I bet Reynards would even have good acoustics. Pinza-C55
  • Score: 13

12:28pm Mon 24 Mar 14

notmyrealname says...

York Council ...sensible... two words rarely seen together !
York Council ...sensible... two words rarely seen together ! notmyrealname
  • Score: -9

2:17pm Mon 24 Mar 14

meme says...

I find tis a farce
The 2 music venues are private business and its quite possible for them to find somewhere else to trade and not for the Council to protect them when balanced off against getting rid of a horrendous eyesore that should NEVER have been allowed in York and is a blot on our City.
I wish these venues well; I have nothing against them but if they are desperate don't we have an arts barge they could go to or CoYC why not buy a big shop and rent it out to them if its so important to York. How about MacDonald's furniture shop on Fossgate, was a cinema and perfect for the job? In fact better than where they are now. or how about the Victorian warehouse off Walmgate near proposed new hotel? Think outside of the box, for once, CoYC and stop trying to win votes over common sense
I find tis a farce The 2 music venues are private business and its quite possible for them to find somewhere else to trade and not for the Council to protect them when balanced off against getting rid of a horrendous eyesore that should NEVER have been allowed in York and is a blot on our City. I wish these venues well; I have nothing against them but if they are desperate don't we have an arts barge they could go to or CoYC why not buy a big shop and rent it out to them if its so important to York. How about MacDonald's furniture shop on Fossgate, was a cinema and perfect for the job? In fact better than where they are now. or how about the Victorian warehouse off Walmgate near proposed new hotel? Think outside of the box, for once, CoYC and stop trying to win votes over common sense meme
  • Score: -9

4:25pm Mon 24 Mar 14

moose says...

meme wrote:
I find tis a farce
The 2 music venues are private business and its quite possible for them to find somewhere else to trade and not for the Council to protect them when balanced off against getting rid of a horrendous eyesore that should NEVER have been allowed in York and is a blot on our City.
I wish these venues well; I have nothing against them but if they are desperate don't we have an arts barge they could go to or CoYC why not buy a big shop and rent it out to them if its so important to York. How about MacDonald's furniture shop on Fossgate, was a cinema and perfect for the job? In fact better than where they are now. or how about the Victorian warehouse off Walmgate near proposed new hotel? Think outside of the box, for once, CoYC and stop trying to win votes over common sense
They are not normal city centre businesses though. To convert and soundproof one of the venues you mention would almost certainly be a non-starter both financially and in terms of planning permission. They are part of the city's cultural fabric in a way that most shops/restaurants around are not.
The Opera House is a private business, but nobody would expect them to up sticks and relocate. This may be a smaller scale (with smaller margins), but the principle is no different.

That said, I also think it's pretty poor form to force any business out using the argument that they are just a private enterprise so it's OK for them to relocate
[quote][p][bold]meme[/bold] wrote: I find tis a farce The 2 music venues are private business and its quite possible for them to find somewhere else to trade and not for the Council to protect them when balanced off against getting rid of a horrendous eyesore that should NEVER have been allowed in York and is a blot on our City. I wish these venues well; I have nothing against them but if they are desperate don't we have an arts barge they could go to or CoYC why not buy a big shop and rent it out to them if its so important to York. How about MacDonald's furniture shop on Fossgate, was a cinema and perfect for the job? In fact better than where they are now. or how about the Victorian warehouse off Walmgate near proposed new hotel? Think outside of the box, for once, CoYC and stop trying to win votes over common sense[/p][/quote]They are not normal city centre businesses though. To convert and soundproof one of the venues you mention would almost certainly be a non-starter both financially and in terms of planning permission. They are part of the city's cultural fabric in a way that most shops/restaurants around are not. The Opera House is a private business, but nobody would expect them to up sticks and relocate. This may be a smaller scale (with smaller margins), but the principle is no different. That said, I also think it's pretty poor form to force any business out using the argument that they are just a private enterprise so it's OK for them to relocate moose
  • Score: 9

5:17pm Mon 24 Mar 14

Garrowby Turnoff says...

Stonebow House development must protect music venues, says council leader
I can't find anywhere the bit where this headline is justified. Alexander only said
Any new development must be sensitive to existing businesses, primarily the music venues.
and the word 'protect' is press spin. 'Sensitive' could mean writing the music venues a letter to say 'Very sorry, but we are pulling down the lot.'
[quote][p][bold]Stonebow House development must protect music venues, says council leader[/quote][p][/bold] I can't find anywhere the bit where this headline is justified. Alexander only said [quote] Any new development must be sensitive to existing businesses, primarily the music venues.[/quote] and the word 'protect' is press spin. 'Sensitive' could mean writing the music venues a letter to say 'Very sorry, but we are pulling down the lot.' Garrowby Turnoff
  • Score: 9

5:23pm Mon 24 Mar 14

Owain ap Llwyd says...

Dump it, Jim.
Make the rumble form Stonebow House, and sell it on Ebay.
Dump it, Jim. Make the rumble form Stonebow House, and sell it on Ebay. Owain ap Llwyd
  • Score: -1

5:58pm Mon 24 Mar 14

Alf Garnett says...

meme wrote:
I find tis a farce
The 2 music venues are private business and its quite possible for them to find somewhere else to trade and not for the Council to protect them when balanced off against getting rid of a horrendous eyesore that should NEVER have been allowed in York and is a blot on our City.
I wish these venues well; I have nothing against them but if they are desperate don't we have an arts barge they could go to or CoYC why not buy a big shop and rent it out to them if its so important to York. How about MacDonald's furniture shop on Fossgate, was a cinema and perfect for the job? In fact better than where they are now. or how about the Victorian warehouse off Walmgate near proposed new hotel? Think outside of the box, for once, CoYC and stop trying to win votes over common sense
Amen to that.
[quote][p][bold]meme[/bold] wrote: I find tis a farce The 2 music venues are private business and its quite possible for them to find somewhere else to trade and not for the Council to protect them when balanced off against getting rid of a horrendous eyesore that should NEVER have been allowed in York and is a blot on our City. I wish these venues well; I have nothing against them but if they are desperate don't we have an arts barge they could go to or CoYC why not buy a big shop and rent it out to them if its so important to York. How about MacDonald's furniture shop on Fossgate, was a cinema and perfect for the job? In fact better than where they are now. or how about the Victorian warehouse off Walmgate near proposed new hotel? Think outside of the box, for once, CoYC and stop trying to win votes over common sense[/p][/quote]Amen to that. Alf Garnett
  • Score: 1

6:28pm Mon 24 Mar 14

Pinza-C55 says...

moose wrote:
meme wrote:
I find tis a farce
The 2 music venues are private business and its quite possible for them to find somewhere else to trade and not for the Council to protect them when balanced off against getting rid of a horrendous eyesore that should NEVER have been allowed in York and is a blot on our City.
I wish these venues well; I have nothing against them but if they are desperate don't we have an arts barge they could go to or CoYC why not buy a big shop and rent it out to them if its so important to York. How about MacDonald's furniture shop on Fossgate, was a cinema and perfect for the job? In fact better than where they are now. or how about the Victorian warehouse off Walmgate near proposed new hotel? Think outside of the box, for once, CoYC and stop trying to win votes over common sense
They are not normal city centre businesses though. To convert and soundproof one of the venues you mention would almost certainly be a non-starter both financially and in terms of planning permission. They are part of the city's cultural fabric in a way that most shops/restaurants around are not.
The Opera House is a private business, but nobody would expect them to up sticks and relocate. This may be a smaller scale (with smaller margins), but the principle is no different.

That said, I also think it's pretty poor form to force any business out using the argument that they are just a private enterprise so it's OK for them to relocate
It's poor form for a business to come to the end of their lease and have to close because they cannot afford the new terms but it happens. If the council are in a position to dictate the future use of Stonebow House then that is up to them.
[quote][p][bold]moose[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]meme[/bold] wrote: I find tis a farce The 2 music venues are private business and its quite possible for them to find somewhere else to trade and not for the Council to protect them when balanced off against getting rid of a horrendous eyesore that should NEVER have been allowed in York and is a blot on our City. I wish these venues well; I have nothing against them but if they are desperate don't we have an arts barge they could go to or CoYC why not buy a big shop and rent it out to them if its so important to York. How about MacDonald's furniture shop on Fossgate, was a cinema and perfect for the job? In fact better than where they are now. or how about the Victorian warehouse off Walmgate near proposed new hotel? Think outside of the box, for once, CoYC and stop trying to win votes over common sense[/p][/quote]They are not normal city centre businesses though. To convert and soundproof one of the venues you mention would almost certainly be a non-starter both financially and in terms of planning permission. They are part of the city's cultural fabric in a way that most shops/restaurants around are not. The Opera House is a private business, but nobody would expect them to up sticks and relocate. This may be a smaller scale (with smaller margins), but the principle is no different. That said, I also think it's pretty poor form to force any business out using the argument that they are just a private enterprise so it's OK for them to relocate[/p][/quote]It's poor form for a business to come to the end of their lease and have to close because they cannot afford the new terms but it happens. If the council are in a position to dictate the future use of Stonebow House then that is up to them. Pinza-C55
  • Score: 2

6:32pm Mon 24 Mar 14

richard22 says...

Heres an idea for you all to think about.

Knock it all down including the parade of shops and build a new bus station. In my opinion that would be more use to York maybe not the ideal place being a distance from the train station however better than what there is.
Heres an idea for you all to think about. Knock it all down including the parade of shops and build a new bus station. In my opinion that would be more use to York maybe not the ideal place being a distance from the train station however better than what there is. richard22
  • Score: -1

6:47pm Mon 24 Mar 14

bagnall1928@yahoo.com says...

Im in my 80s and remember stonebow as it was, was it not called Hungate
I remember when it was opened into pavement, the old buildings gone,
but i remember it being thee when I was a child. My mother shopped in
Fossgate and we often went down pavement to turn right.
there was of course no opening, it was an old hotel or Pub as I remember.
When I was a teenager it was knocked down and the bleak site was
now visible.
It was a desolate space for quite awhile. I was not impressed with
the type of buildings tey began to erect, they were totally out of sypathy with
the character of the area which of course was historic. Fossgate,
and Colliergate, and the other old streets were all there still.
We plan for the future when we build and many modern buildings are
not in character with the neighborhood sadly.
I roamed York as a child, so many historic streets and buildings, the walls, the Minster, lovely old churches too.
I live int he USA now and I know how much visitors to UK love to see the
historic places when they come over.
Get people to be interested in what happens to their city . They cant all get to council meetings , so give them voice in some other way.
Modern York can combine with the historic York sympathetically
it is not a vast area, many people live miles away in Acomb, Dringhouses,
and other outskirts, with the modern supermarkets they rarely need to go \
into town as we used to for the market on Saturdays, or to cinemas such
as St.Goerges, and the Picture House in Coney Street, There was another in Fossgate ,The Electric I believe.
In my 80s now I remember so much of York even though I havent lived there
for many years.
Im in my 80s and remember stonebow as it was, was it not called Hungate I remember when it was opened into pavement, the old buildings gone, but i remember it being thee when I was a child. My mother shopped in Fossgate and we often went down pavement to turn right. there was of course no opening, it was an old hotel or Pub as I remember. When I was a teenager it was knocked down and the bleak site was now visible. It was a desolate space for quite awhile. I was not impressed with the type of buildings tey began to erect, they were totally out of sypathy with the character of the area which of course was historic. Fossgate, and Colliergate, and the other old streets were all there still. We plan for the future when we build and many modern buildings are not in character with the neighborhood sadly. I roamed York as a child, so many historic streets and buildings, the walls, the Minster, lovely old churches too. I live int he USA now and I know how much visitors to UK love to see the historic places when they come over. Get people to be interested in what happens to their city . They cant all get to council meetings , so give them voice in some other way. Modern York can combine with the historic York sympathetically it is not a vast area, many people live miles away in Acomb, Dringhouses, and other outskirts, with the modern supermarkets they rarely need to go \ into town as we used to for the market on Saturdays, or to cinemas such as St.Goerges, and the Picture House in Coney Street, There was another in Fossgate ,The Electric I believe. In my 80s now I remember so much of York even though I havent lived there for many years. bagnall1928@yahoo.com
  • Score: 9

1:39am Tue 25 Mar 14

RingoStarr says...

RingoStarr wrote:
Cllr Alexander is tuly a visionary of the highest order and his plans, like all else he does for York, are momentous and so clearly thought out.
With best wishes,
Herbert Acker
And LOOK! 214 'shares' on Facebook for this story tonight! MUST be a record for our much esteemed leader!
[quote][p][bold]RingoStarr[/bold] wrote: Cllr Alexander is tuly a visionary of the highest order and his plans, like all else he does for York, are momentous and so clearly thought out. With best wishes, Herbert Acker[/p][/quote]And LOOK! 214 'shares' on Facebook for this story tonight! MUST be a record for our much esteemed leader! RingoStarr
  • Score: -19

2:53am Tue 25 Mar 14

Magicman! says...

Why is there a bit on Askham Grange in an article about Stonebow House? seems a bit random.
Why is there a bit on Askham Grange in an article about Stonebow House? seems a bit random. Magicman!
  • Score: 2

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