A LUXURY hotel in York city centre has been refused permission to extend its alcohol licence by one hour or expand the area where people can drink - after residents and York Minster objected to the plans.

The owner of Grays Court Hotel asked for permission to serve alcohol until 11.30pm from Sunday to Thursday and for the driveway to be included in the licensed area so drinks can be carried between buildings. The hotel can currently serve drinks until 11.30pm on Fridays and Saturdays but must stop serving at 10.30pm on other nights of the week.

But members of City of York Council’s licensing committee turned the application down, saying it could cause a public nuisance.

Clare Johnson, representing Grays Court owner Helen Hegarty at the meeting yesterday, said guests at the hotel’s restaurant must order their drinks before 10.30pm during the week when eating the nine-course tasting menu with wine pairings. She said: “This is awkward and embarrassing. We are not talking about a rave here, we are talking about a small restaurant. This is not a young persons’ venue.”

York Minster and neighbours objected to the plans, with some residents saying there is noise from taxis at the venue.

But Ms Johnson said taxis cannot be hailed in Chapter House Street and accused the dean and chapter of York Minster, which sold Grays Court to Mrs Hegarty, of trying to “thwart” the hotel. She said: “None of the responsible authorities have objected. Interestingly York Minster has a liquor licence until 12.30pm. Mrs Hegarty has proven over the last seven years that she can run these premises in a professional manner.”

Committee members heard that two or three functions are held at the hotel a week.

Andrew Oates, chapter clerk to the Dean and Chapter at York Minster, said the Minster did not object to Grays Court being used as a hotel but added: “The Minster holds a premises licence but it’s markedly different to the use at Grays Court. The Minster’s is used only occasionally for example for public entertainment or the tipi tent.

“It’s a very fragile part of the city in terms of soundscape.”

And residents Mr and Mrs Qgus, speaking at the meeting, said: “It means alcohol could be consumed right outside our bathroom and kitchen windows. There would be nothing to stop guests of Grays Court sitting on the window sill of our kitchen or bathroom and consuming alcohol.”

Christopher Grunert, representing resident Kevin Mohan, said: “It’s not just my client, other residents are objecting.

“There are always two sides to the story. The premises is causing issues at this stage.”

The application was refused by councillors on the committee.