BETTYS is proposing to close its shop in York's Stonegate, The Press can reveal.

The firm said it was 'talking to our team at Little Bettys' in Stonegate - where the upstairs cafe closed earlier this year - about a proposal to permanently close the shop and branch.

However, it stressed that this was only a proposal at the moment and no decision had yet been taken.

A spokeswoman said Little Bettys, as it was often known by customers, had long been the most operationally and commercially challenging of the firm's branches.

"Earlier this year, we took the decision to permanently close the upstairs café, but kept the small downstairs shop open with a plan to look at different options and formats for the building," she said.

"Sadly, to date, we’ve been unable to find a workable option, so we’ve made the team aware of a proposal to close the entire branch."

She said Bettys was 100-years old and its history had shown that it needed to adapt and evolve to continue to thrive.

"No changes are being proposed to any other of our five Bettys Café Tea Rooms, one of which, our flagship York branch, is located only a few hundred yards away," she said.

"We’re working closely with the team at the branch and, if the proposal to close goes ahead, we’d aim to redeploy as many people as possible into other parts of our family business."

Simon Eyles, managing director of Bettys, said in a blog in March that the business had been welcoming customers to a café on Stonegate for over 50 years.

"We’re incredibly grateful for the loyalty and kindness of York's residents and visitors over that time, and for the talent, commitment and dedication of our colleagues at the branch," he said.

He said the Stonegate café was the smallest of its cafés, housed in a unique, historic building, full of charm and quirks, which had become an increasingly challenging environment to work in.

"The back-of-house kitchen area is very small and the behind-the-scenes space for our people is very different to the working conditions we offer elsewhere," he said.

"Over the last few years, we’ve tried several different ways to make it work better for our people, our customers and our business. Sadly, we haven't been able to find a formula that fits."

He thanked customers, many of whom had visited the Stonegate café regularly for years, sometimes decades.