Doubts over how a Starbucks in a converted roadside pub would tackle drainage issues meant that that such a proposal was not the cup of tea of York planners.

They have rejected plans concerning the vacant Four Alls Inn on Malton Road, Stockton-on-the-Forest, work on which was already underway.

Early in 2020, prior to the pandemic, Dennis Harvey Developments applied for planning permission to convert the pub into the drive-thru, with offices above, and a shop created in the garage.

The planning application to City of York Council said the pub had suffered a 25 per cent drop in business in the year prior to its closure, before the pandemic, and the scheme would create 25 jobs.

However, after much correspondence between the council and the developer over surface water and drainage issues, the council decided to refuse the proposals due to ‘lack of information.’

A report by council planners noted the 0.8246ha green belt site, situated 17 miles north-east of York, was not in a defined settlement area and the pub was not listed.

Stockton-on-the-Forest Parish Council said it had ‘concerns’ over access to the site from the busy A64 and it believed there was not enough parking for the expected 25 staff.

York Civic Trust opposed the scheme, saying the pub, built in 1900, was one of the few surviving ‘roadhouses’ between York and Scarborough.

Though not designated, the building was of ‘architectural interest and local historical interest’ and the proposed conversion would ‘adversely impact’ its character, the civic trust said.

However, council planners also noted that despite marketing, the pub was not viable either for pub or community use. Furthermore, its loss was already accepted due to previous council approval to demolish the pub and build two houses on the site.

But it was drainage that appears to have flushed away the scheme, with a visit by planning officials in February further noting ditches being built were “found to be full of water to over topping.”

Their report then argued why the application should be refused.

“In conclusion, officers are not satisfied that sufficient evidence has been submitted to demonstrate that the proposed development can be properly drained, as no acceptable outfall has been provided. In the absence of such information, it is not considered that this can be overcome by a condition.

“However, insufficient details have been provided to demonstrate that surface water and foul water can be adequately disposed of without an increase in flood risk elsewhere or that an acceptable drainage scheme can be achieved on the site.”

As such, the scheme conflicted with local and national planning policies, it added.