Saving the Carlton Tavern



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Saving the Carlton Tavern

Social Vision were recently invited to submit a proposal to save a local pub from being demolished and replaced with a luxury care home. Below are a few details about how we feel the space could be used to the benefit of the entire community.

Firstly, some context. The Carlton Tavern sits on the Holgate/Acomb border just yards from the busy Front Street in Acomb. It is surrounded by residential, from local authority housing on the Sowerby Road estate behind, through to huge leafy properties on Hobgate and Moorgate directly opposite. The area of Acomb is the biggest in the City, home to over 20,000 people and Holgate (within which the pub sits) has almost 13,000 residents. combined this is almost a fifth of York’s population living in these two areas.

And Social Vision is based in the immediate area, just on the Holgate/Acomb border, so it’s an issue close to our hearts. The pub has significant heritage, and from the local residents I know and have spoken to, they would love an injection of life into the area!

Addressing need

In Holgate, there are very few places to go for a decent coffee, with friends or colleagues and enjoy quality food as well. On the A59, between Carr Lane and the City Centre there is just one place (Bapman – which has no seating). From The Carlton Tavern to the City Centre there are no coffee shops or delis. In the Holgate area there are no restaurants. It is, however, served by two excellent and popular pubs – The Fox and Volunteer Arms.

The neighbouring ward of Acomb (which includes Westfield) has many social issues, including high unemployment levels, many elderly people, poor educational attainment, and a struggling local economy

Social Vision

Our vision is to kick start a transformation of the area, through a social enterprise model that provides a much needed venue and services, at an exceptionally high quality, where all profits are reinvested into the local community.

Some ideas picked out of our proposal include:

  • Teas and coffees – a space where friends, parents on the school run, business colleagues and retirees can meet in a nice, tranquil setting
  • Deli snacks – fresh, local produce to accompany the above, including a lunch time offer
  • Microbrewery – providing a relevant space for local residents to socialise on an evening, bringing the best craft ales and spirits to the area
  • Enterprise Hub – support scheme for YO26/24 young people to match up with a local mentor to get them work/enterprise ready
  • Employment – we will employ at least 25% of our staff from marginalised communities, and 100% from the immediate area
  • Restaurant – Holgate’s first formal dining experience? Imagine an authentic, romantic Greek or Lebanese restaurant right here in Holgate…

Avoiding gentrification

Social Vision founder Joe Gardham lived on Bishy Road for over 30 years, and has seen first hand the impact (positive and negative) inward investment can be to local communities. As such Social Vision feels strongly about community involvement, and ensuring that any business supports and reinvests in the local economy. Nobody should ‘get rich’ from projects like this. We believe it should be a relevant space that meets the needs of a changing demographic, with all finances reinvested in the local economy. This might be developing local supply chains (plumbers, plasterers from the area for example), creating opportunities (offering training, apprenticeships and employment to local young people), fighting loneliness (with many elderly people in the area, a free cup of tea may have a huge impact on an otherwise isolated daily routine), and spending money in the local economy (rather than going into town and spending it in national profit-making chains like Pizza Express and Costa)

Becoming reality

There are a lot of hurdles to jump before any of the above can even be considered in practice. The priority issue right now is that the brewery have already done a deal with their preferred care home partner to buy the pub. This is, however, subject to planning permission (decision due 18th October), so the more people that object, the better chance we would have. You can object (or support) the application here (Ref: 17/00476/FULM) –

After that, Social Vision gets involved – bringing passion, innovation and our strong social compass to inject much needed life into the local area.

Further reading

York Press article [11th October 17]


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