A STARBUCKS kiosk at York Station must be removed after a planning inspector ruled it spoiled the character of the historic former ticket hall.
Inspector Alan Novitzky upheld a listed building enforcement notice issued by City of York Council, which claimed the kiosk had been installed in contravention of planning legislation.
He said an appeal had been lodged against the notice, maintaining the kiosk was a free-standing structure which was not fixed to the building, and therefore did not form an alteration or extension to the Grade II* listed building.
The appeal also claimed the kiosk did not affect the listed building’s character or interfere with its features of special architectural or historic interest.
But the inspector said it made a “substantial intrusion” into the former ticket hall, which was a “symmetrical, classically contained space of carefully considered proportions, a transition space between the entrance portico and the railway concourse”.
He said: “The kiosk has a solid, heavy, four-square presence and a darkish appearance.”
He appreciated the usefulness of such customer facilities, but believed a less intrusive form might be more appropriate.
He also claimed the fact that a similar, unauthorised kiosk was in place before the present structure did not mitigate the harm and said the six months given for its removal it was an adequate length of time.
The council’s Labour group leader, Coun James Alexander, welcomed the decision, saying York was a very special place and its heritage must be protected. “It is what makes York special,” he said. “We can’t let large multi-national companies jeopardise this, as it means York will no longer be special. Fewer people will visit here and our economy will suffer.”
A spokesman for nationalised train operator East Coast, which is responsible for the station, said the kiosk had been introduced under the previous franchise operator. “East Coast will continue to discuss any further options with the council planners,” he said. “The facility has proven popular with customers at York.”