York Labour MP in row with councillor from own party over comments on Twitter

An application by Roxy Leisure to open a Roxy Ball Room games bar was approved on September 11 by the City of York Council’s licensing committee.

Residents near Stonebow House, where the bar will be located, were concerned about the potential for noise from customers.

However, conditions were put in place to minimise potential disturbances, including a maximum capacity of 400 people and bottle collections to only take place between 8am and 8pm.

But Rachael Maskell, MP for York Central, gave her view on Twitter once the decision had been reported in the media.

“Games bar approved for York city centre,” she said.

“Disappointed that the Lib Dem councillors on the committee nodded this through (none of them represent the centre of York).

“Not even asking for a risk assessment first.

“I’ll fight for a family-friendly York.”


The licensing committee included Liberal Democrat councillors Ashley Mason, Darryl Smalley and Ian Cuthbertson.

Labour councillor and licensing committee chair Cllr Rachel Melly replied to Ms Maskell’s tweet, defending her fellow councillors.

She said: “The members of the licensing panel took a non-political decision, having assessed all the evidence and the licensing objectives.

“Their political party membership and the ward they represent is irrelevant.

“It’s completely inappropriate to politicise a licensing decision this way.

“They didn’t ‘nod it through’.

“They spent hours and hours reading and hearing evidence, deliberating, and consulting a senior licensing solicitor.

“They then approved it with additional and amended conditions they felt were necessary and reasonable to uphold the licensing objectives.

“Councillors are barred from sitting on hearing panels to determine applications in wards they represent.

“So if you want to try and undermine licensing decisions that were made by councillors who don’t represent the area then you’ve got hundreds to go through.”

Cllr Mason said: “Ms Maskell’s comments before and after the hearing are very disappointing.

“These hearings are a quasi-judicial apolitical process.

“In this case, we held a three-hour hearing, which Ms Maskell failed to turn up for as an official objector.

“I raised concerns ahead of the meeting about Labour making this political and these concerns have been shown as true.

“We placed reasonable conditions on the licence holder to limit the venue to 400 people, limit glass bottle recycling collection to 8am-8pm and require the duty manager’s mobile number and a senior area manager’s email to be delivered by hand to nearby residents every six months.

“We have to decide these applications based on licensing regulations and not on party political beliefs or personally held views.”

The Liberal Democrats formally complained about Ms Maskell’s words and said the council leader Claire Douglas has written to her.

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