A SIGN on the front of one of York's oldest buildings has sparked a one-man protest. 

As The Press reported last week, Happy Valley Chinese Restaurant in Our Lady's Row in Goodramgate has applied for retrospective planning permission having attached signage to the front of the building.

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The Ghost of William Etty - a group formed back in the 1990s to help save York stone pavements from being pulled up in city streets - has objected to the sign saying it is vandalism of a Grade 1 listed building.

One of the group's founders, Gordon Campbell-Thomas, is on a mission to get the sign removed, saying the owners put it up without getting planning permission.

He had planned hold a protest outside the restaurant today (April 5), but brought the protest forward a day and held it yesterday instead after he claims threats were made on social media.

York Press: Gordon Campbell-Thomas with his sign protesting outside the Happy Valley Chinese restaurant in Goodramgate, YorkGordon Campbell-Thomas with his sign protesting outside the Happy Valley Chinese restaurant in Goodramgate, York (Image: Haydn Lewis)

Junyue Tan from Happy Valley has said the sign is needed to attract customers after he has been saddled with a whopping £8,000 insurance bill.

The application follows a similar application from the neighbouring last year. On that occasion City of York Council denied retrospective planning application and the business owners have appealed the decision.


York Press: Gordon protesting outside The Old York Tea Room last yearGordon protesting outside The Old York Tea Room last year (Image: Supplied)

Mr Campbell-Thomas carried a sign saying 'This is also vandalism' with an arrow pointing up to the new restaurant signs.

He said: "They are doing exactly same thing as Old York Tearoom did last year. I hope it’s taken on board.

"First one commercial business thinks it can flout planning regulations, and cock a snook at the city’s heritage and history by defacing a Grade 1 listed building and now its neighbour, the Happy Valley Chinese Restaurant is trying it on with the people and the council.

"They have applied for retrospective planning permission for a large brightly painted green coloured sign to be fitted on the first floor level of their shop situated on Our Lady’s Row.

“Enough is enough; let us stop this outright vandalism.”

Mr Tan said: "The sign is needed to keep the business running. We need to attract customers as often people say they can't find us.

"Our insurance bill is now £8,000 - are those objecting going to pay the bill? It was £2,000, but it has gone up after a lorry hit the outside of the building and and damaged it. The driver was trying to avoid a blue badge holder who was parked so he couldn't get past."

According to York Civic Trust Our Lady's Row is one of the oldest buildings of its type, not only in York, but in the country and it was built in 1317.

The Ghost of William Etty is so called as York artist William Etty spearheaded a campaign in the 1830s to save the city walls from being pulled down and specifically Bootham Bar. His statue stands in Exhibition Square in front of Art Gallery.

York Press: The William Etty statue in Exhibition SquareThe William Etty statue in Exhibition Square