York Minster to turn one of its buildings into 11 flats

York Minster has been given the green light to turn one of its buildings into 11 flats.

The Dean and Chapter of York, which runs the Minster, submitted a revised planning application after their initial bid attracted criticism for not including any contribution to affordable housing in the city.

Church House, an office block on Ogleforth, will now contain two one-bedroom apartments set at an affordable rent, and more than £30,000 will be contributed to off-site affordable housing provision.

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The Minster had previously suggested using its affordable housing contribution towards the restoration of the Mauley Window, a medieval window in the south nave aisle.

York Minster in York city centre

Alex McCallion, director of works and precinct at the Minster, said he was “very pleased” with their latest plans as they allowed for restoration of the window and affordable housing.

York Central MP Rachael Maskell, who raised concerns about the initial proposal, supported the new plan, Mr McCallion said.

The annual income from the 11 flats will be enough to restore one nave aisle window per year, he added.

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Church House, which belongs to York Minster

The Minister receives no ongoing government funding or central Church of England financial support towards the care of the fabric of the building.

Mr McCallion said: “Over the next 15 years York faces a fundraising target of £30m. Members will have seen our interpretation boards which talked about being in a race against time to protect our mediaeval windows.

“Despite its great size, York Minster is actually an incredibly fragile building and this internationally celebrated iconic symbol of our great city is at risk.”

The flats will not be used for holiday lets and could be ready by next summer, Mr McCallion said.

Coun Jonny Crawshaw said he understood that the Minster had wanted to generate as much income as possible for its upkeep in its first application.

“But I do think that the people who live in the city and desperately need housing are equally important, great though the Minister is,” he said.

He added: “I’m really pleased to see that this is coming back with this revised section 106 agreement. I think it’s so important to actually see affordable housing units physically being delivered, not a commuted sum going elsewhere.”

More than £10,000 from the Minster will also go towards off-site sports and play provision as part of their application.