YORK council bosses have slapped a planning restriction on a unique building on one of the main roads into the city.

An Article 4 Direction (A4D) has gone on 79 Fulford Road, meaning the owners cannot tear the building down without express permission from the council.

The building incorporates a nearly 200-year-old stone facade that was once part of the Theatre Royal.

The eye-catching stone arches were designed by John Harper in 1834 as part of a new entrance for the theatre, and they were moved to their current home when the theatre was remodelled in 1879.

Last month demolition notices appeared on the building, which had long lain empty, prompting fears from heritage campaigners who did not want to see the unique York historical link lost.

The new move has been welcomed by those campaigners, including Fishergate’s ward councillor and York’s former “heritage champion” Cllr Dave Taylor.

York Press:

He said: “This is obviously a historic building, even if it has moved from its original site.

“It’s very much on the public highway, and I think City of York Council are right to say we need to consider this properly.”

Cllr Taylor also spoke up for old coach house buildings at the back of the site - which he would like to see retained but which are not included in the A4D.

He added: “My personal view is that they are of interest and value and ought to be redeveloped.

“I remain of that view, and I also remain of the view that it would be nice to redevelop the shed building, just as long as the historic bits are retained.”

The historic theatre facade sits in front of a more recent shed-like building, which most recently housed a children’s nursery.

The A4D decision was taken by City of York’s Director of Economy and Place Neil Ferris. The formal decision notice said demolition of the arches building “is likely to take place by virtue of the application for prior approval” and adds that letting the building be pulled down would damage “an interest of acknowledged importance”.

When the demolition notices were posted last month, Lee Vincent of dc-architecture said the move was a way of establishing the legal situation. The applicant has taken note of the A4D and will be considering their options, he added.