Plans to build a new mid-size music venue in York on the site of the iconic Fibbers appear to have hit the buffers.

And a Britpop legend said York desperately needed such a venue and called for action to deliver the proposal.

As The Press reported, plans were approved in December 2022 for York to get its first purpose-built gig venue in decades at the former Fibbers site in Toft Green.

The site was to become a 500-capacity music venue managed by Jimmy’s, the company founded by Helmsley-born brothers George and Jimmy Craig of the band One Night Only.

York Press: Fibbers in Toft GreenFibbers in Toft Green (Image: Frank Dwyer)

But the plans seem to have fallen through.

Paul Ellis from developers North Star, which was the project manager for the site on behalf of a local syndicate of investors, told The Press the investors had “not been able to raise the equity required”.

York Press: 'RIP Fibbers' sprayed on to the former music venue'RIP Fibbers' sprayed on to the former music venue (Image: Supplied)

“Needless to say we are monitoring the situation and would love to deliver,” he added.

Mr Ellis could not say who the investors were but said future projects North Star has ownership of – including a Hard Rock Café and hotel moving into a space left unoccupied by the former TK Maxx in Coney Street – “will be delivered”.

Site 'rotting away' is 'bitterly disappointing' 

City of York Council’s deputy leader, Cllr Pete Kilbane, who has previously campaigned to preserve live music in York with other local councillors, told The Press: “It is bitterly disappointing to see the Fibbers site slowly rotting away when it could be such a great cultural space in the city.

“As with the proposed Roman Museum this looks like yet another broken promise to the residents of York from the developers at North Star.

York Press: City of York Council’s deputy leader, Cllr Pete KilbaneCity of York Council’s deputy leader, Cllr Pete Kilbane (Image: Supplied)

“Their ambitions may be dead in the water, but planning permission has been granted on this site and we really hope that a reputable developer will step forward and create the mid-size capacity music venue that York so clearly needs.”

As The Press reported earlier this year, Rougier Street Developments – the company behind ambitious plans for a word-class tourism attraction showcasing York’s Roman heritage – went into administration.

York Press: Graham Coxon at Fibbers, YorkGraham Coxon at Fibbers, York (Image: David Harrison)

The firm had hoped to create a new underground Roman museum – Eboracum – along with an 88-room aparthotel, 153 new apartments and new office space.

The scheme was expected to bring about 500,000 visitors a year to York, create 50 new jobs and boost the city’s visitor economy by £21 million.

North Star was the company promoting the site and helping Rougier Street Developments gain planning approval.

York Press: Fibbers in its current stateFibbers in its current state (Image: Supplied)

Rick Witter, frontman of Britpop legends Shed Seven, from York, called for action to complete the project on the Fibbers site.

“Every good city needs a medium sized venue for grassroots music," he told The Press.

York Press: Shed Seven frontman Rick WitterShed Seven frontman Rick Witter (Image: Supplied)

Fibbers closed in 2020 leaving York without a mid-sized venue.  

“York definitely needs a venue of that size – not only for home grown talent, but for talent around the world to be able to play in a 500,600,700-capacity venue,” said Rick.

“It’s so important for bands to be able to play in those places - not just for the bands but for the people.”

York Press: Rick Witter during Shed Seven's gig at Fibbers, York, on Saturday, November 18, 2017Rick Witter during Shed Seven's gig at Fibbers, York, on Saturday, November 18, 2017 (Image: Barnaby Fairley)

“Someone needs to do something about it,” he added.

In 2014 Fibbers moved to Toft Green after 22 years at Stonebow House.

Shed Seven rose to fame during Britpop and Rick said Fibbers was a place for the band to “get ourselves known”.

“We played Fibbers so many times in both of the different venues,” he said.

Developers have a 'responsibility to deliver'

Chris Sherrington, from York Music Venue Network and Music Venue Trust, said the developers have a “responsibility to deliver”.

“We are concerned at the lack of activity at the old Fibbers site since the planning permission for a new venue was so hard fought for by advocates across York's music scene,” he told The Press.

York Press: Arctic Monkeys at FibbersArctic Monkeys at Fibbers (Image: David Harrison)

“Developers have a responsibility to deliver, especially when they remove a much-needed cultural space from our local scene and it highlights the lack of security we have when venues like this are owned by commercial landlords.”


“We remain open to working with North Star, Jimmy's and the local council to see if there is a way in which this site can be returned to cultural use and to help develop the circuit of venues in the city which has a gap between the wonderful grassroots venue like The Crescent, The Fulford Arms, Vaults and National Centre for Early Music, and the concert halls such as York Barbican,” he added.

Mr Sherrington said more than 90 per cent of grassroots music venues in England are in buildings that the operators does not own or have control over.

In response, he said the Music Venue Trust is looking to purchase venues through its Own Our Venues Campaign.

The Press has approached Jimmy’s for comment.