PLANS to convert the former Lawrence Street Working Men's Club and a pub into student accommodation have been approved.

The 114-room development was passed by City of York Council's planning committee on Thursday.

Once the home of 18th century mental health pioneer Samuel Tuke, the Lawrence Street building has been empty since the WMC moved out nearly a decade ago.

York Press:

The scheme spells the end for the next door Tam O'Shanter pub, which is to become the common rooms and social space for the students.

It got the go-ahead with 10 councillors voting in favour, one against and three abstentions for the main plan.

The plan also required listed building consent, with 10 councillors voting in favour and four abstentions.

Chris Hale, of developer S Harrison, said the scheme would invest £11.5 million into York and without it "the building would fall into terminal disrepair".

"This site has become an eyesore," he said. "It's in a shocking state.

"This development will revitalise this part of Lawrence Street and hopefully attract new investment.

Cllr John Galvin said York would get "something stunning" with the development.

He added: "You can't even describe what level of improvement this will be."

Cllr Andy D'Agorne said: "I think it's commendable that we have got a scheme that is protecting our heritage and providing much-needed accommodation for students."

However, Cllr Mark Warters said: "Had this been a residential scheme for York people, I would have been the first one leading the charge to approve it, but it's not.

"It is another piece in the jigsaw that is creating a student ghetto on Lawrence Street and Hull Road.

"I find it absolutely appalling that we are going to be losing another working man's facility in the Tam O'Shanter."

York Press:

Cllrs Mark Warters and Nigel Ayre clashed

His comments incensed Cllr Nigel Ayre, who responded: "People who spend three years living here and getting an education, I personally count as York people.

"I wouldn't have a distinction with students somehow not being York people. I think that's an outrageous statement."

At the same meeting, councillors also approved a separate scheme for a 128-bedroom hotel and drive-through restaurant in Layerthorpe.

Tiger Developments gained permission by a unanimous vote for its development next to the old Frog Hall pub site.

This was an updated version of plans approved in 2012 and includes a link road to join Layerthorpe with Heworth Green that was supported by local residents.

Trevor Powell, who lives in Mill Lane, said: "The levels of traffic in Mill Lane are to us quite unacceptable now.

"The air quality is really pretty unpleasant if you walk down thee, particularly at peak times."

He added: "For anybody looking to cross the road, it's pretty dangerous."