ONE of York’s most historic and famous pubs has been controversially axed from a top national guide following a row over its admissions policy.

The Blue Bell in Fossgate has been listed in the Good Beer Guide for more than a decade, winning praise for its unaltered Edwardian interior and its beer range.

But the local branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) has decided to remove it from its list of nominations for next year’s edition of the guide, citing concerns over access.

Branch chairman Matthew Grant said he was unable to comment at this time, as members were not supposed to publicise the guide’s entries ahead of publication in September.

But branch minutes passed to The Press show concerns about The Blue Bell’s inclusion in a quota of pubs discussed at a meeting last month.

They refer to a number of known incidents in which people, including Camra members and visiting guests, had been denied entry to the pub.

Although the branch agreed all pubs had a right to exclude or eject troublemakers, an indiscriminate bar was not considered acceptable. It was agreed to exclude the Blue Bell and replace it with the ‘“next pub in the list”.

Landlord Jim Hardie, said of the decision: “It doesn’t bother me. I have got a capacity of 60 which I can’t go over or I will be in trouble with the licensing authorities. And I always try to look after my regulars. I can’t afford door staff so the sign is an effective way of doing that.

“Anyway, it will help save me from having ‘weirdy beardies’ coming in and asking to sample seven beers and then buying a half!”

But one Camra member told The Press he and a number of other members were unhappy with the decision. He said the pub was very small, so signs were sometimes put up on the door saying ‘private party’ to ensure regulars could get in and to prevent the pub becoming over-crowded.

“The beer is the some of the best in York,” he said.

The Blue Bell is included in Camra’s national inventory of historic pubs, having remained structurally unchanged inside for more than 100 years. It is also reputed to be the birthplace of York City FC, the club’s founding directors having met there in 1922 to discuss their plans.

The Good Beer Guide, regarded as Britain’s beer bible, has been published annually by Camra for the past 40 years. Each branch is given a quota of pubs to put forward for its area, leading to a total of more than 4,500 nationwide.