CAMPAIGNERS were celebrating last night after councillors dramatically changed their minds and saved their much-loved pub from demolition.

In October, York’s planning committee narrowly voted to allow Crown Care to demolish the Carlton Tavern in Acomb and replace it with a care home for 74 elderly people.

But when the application went back before the committee tonight, councillors overturned their previous decision and voted to refuse the application.

Many Acomb and Holgate residents were at the meeting to hear councillors decide the historical value of their pub’s building and the saving of trees on the site were more important than providing a 74-bed home for the elderly.

“I am really delighted,” said Louise Ennis, a local resident and prominent campaigner against the proposal.

“Many, many people in Acomb and Holgate really value the building, not just for its history but for its site on the main road they use every day.”

Laura Outhart, a mother of Holgate, who was equally delighted, said: “I welcome that the council has recognised the importance of buildings not just in the city centre, but also the heritage of buildings in places where so many people live.”

Representatives from Crown Care left the meeting immediately after the decision and did not comment.

Before the debate the company’s group director Michael Ladhar had promised councillors it would provide “high quality care and accommodation in a safe and caring environment for the elderly people of York.”

Ray Wallington, programme director for the council’s older person’s accommodation, told councillors York desperately needed more care homes with 608 places needed by 2020.

“We need to grasp each opportunity with both hands,” he said.

Councillors said there were other places in York where care homes could be built.

Earlier this year, hundreds of people signed a petition calling for the Carlton Tavern in Acomb to be saved.

Nearly 150 people and organisations wrote to the council objecting to the pub’s demolition.

And the man behind Spark York, Joe Gardham, this week said he had submitted a proposal to transform the Victorian building into a restaurant, deli, enterprise hub and a microbrewery.

Planning officers sent the application back before the committee because they believed campaigners were planning a High Court challenge to the October decision.

They were concerned that the council could lose a judicial review of the planning decision if it fought it on the basis of the report that went before the committee in October.

So they revised the section on heritage assets policy and how it affects the pub. Their recommendation remained the same; to approve the application. But, after reading the report, members voted to overturn their prior decision.

After the meeting, Nick Love of the real ale society, York CAMRA, said: 

“It’s a fantastic result for all involved in fighting to save The Carlton Tavern, which has been a collective effort from many parts of the community.

"York CAMRA is delighted that again York has sent a very clear message that it is not an easy touch for pub companies looking to offload their properties for monetary gain whilst destroying local heritage and community pubs for no good cause”