A YORK pub has scrapped its long-standing name The Shoulder of Mutton - partly because it might compromise its plans to focus on vegan and vegetarian food.

The pub in Heworth Green has been called the Shoulder of Mutton since at least the 1950s, but it has now been re-named The Heworth Inn.

When a man queried the decision on Facebook, saying there had been "uproar" when another York pub had changed its name, landlady Leah Stannard replied saying she appreciated his concern but "when trying to market a business to a tourist hotel market, it has been shown that the name the Shoulder of Mutton isn’t perceived particularly well".

She added: “Also, as we are going to have a really keen focus on vegetarian and vegan cuisine, we think it is a tasteful, sympathetic and reasonable decision.”

She told The Press that the pub had been "tired" and she felt the high level of investment she was making meant making a statement of change.

“We also want to have an excellent vegetarian and vegan offering, so found the name slightly compromising of the idea,” she said, adding that up to a quarter of the menu was currently veggie or vegan but she aimed eventually for this to rise to one third to a half.

However, the main reason for the change was that she was applying to become a licensed wedding venue in 2019, as well as a community local and eatery. “We imagined that many brides may not want the invites for their big day to be at a place called the Shoulder of Mutton.

“We have taken into account the area’s and the building’s heritage and have consulted various conservation bodies in the area and received warm feedback and support for the new name.”

Dominika Piasecka, of The Vegan Society, said the change of the name signalled a "positive direction, as eating animals is increasingly becoming an outdated practice".

She said: “We’ve heard of a couple of businesses going out of their way to exclude or annoy vegans, so it’s nice to see the opposite happen for once.

“The number of vegans in Britain has quadrupled in the last four years and many businesses are taking catering for them seriously, with plant based food being inclusive not just of vegans but everyone else as well.”

John Soonaye, from the Vegetarian Society, said: “Focusing on a stronger vegetarian and vegan menu is a brilliant idea for establishments like The Heworth Inn.

“There will be differing opinions on the name change of The Heworth Inn, but if the intention is to highlight a more forward-thinking approach to vegetarian and vegan food, that’s a great thing.”