A SIGN on the front of one of York's oldest buildings which sparked a protest has been refused planning permission.

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

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 - objected to the sign saying it was vandalism of a Grade 1 listed building.

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One of the group's founders, Gordon Campbell-Thomas, is on a mission to get the sign removed, and staged a protest outside the restaurant.

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

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)

Now City of York Council has refused the application with Becky Eades head of planning and development services saying: "The host building is listed at Grade I and the timber framed properties are believed to be the oldest row of houses in York; Lady Row is considered one of the earliest examples in England of the medieval jettied houses.

"The signboard that has been applied to the principal elevation of this Grade I listed building, due to its location, scale and use of materials, is harmful and detracts from the building's significance; its exceptionally fine architectural and historic character and its setting within the Central Historic Core Conservation Area."

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

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.