Why casework?

Planning applications in the City of York Council’s online planning portal are routinely monitored by York Civic Trust as casework.

This allows for a critical appraisal of applications, large and small, that are likely to impact on the city’s streetscape and historic character.

Such appraisals are sifted through the work of the Trust’s Heritage Planning Officer, the Heritage Planning Studio (a voluntary partnership between the Trust and the University of York’s MA in Conservation Studies postgraduates) and, ultimately, the Trust’s Planning Committee, which meets ten times a year.

Below are details and links to some of the most important recent planning applications from the Trust’s point of view, and, where appropriate, pdfs of the Trust’s formal written responses.  A separate webpage includes archived casework that has now been determined.  The planning system allows three types of response: support, objection, or to make a general comment on an application.


Application AddressOS Fields 5475 7267 And 8384 Moor Lane, Acomb [Land north of Askham Bog]

Planning reference no.: 18/02687/OUTM

Proposal: Outline planning permission (with all matters reserved except for means of access) for up to 516 residential units with local centre, public open space with pavilion and associated infrastructure, and full application for demolition of existing buildings and structures and creation of ecological protection and enhancement zone

Importance: Askham Bog, to the immediate south of the proposed site, is of national importance as a Site of Special Scientific Interest due to its evidential value as ancient fenlands of Yorkshire, occupying the site of an ancient lake left behind by retreating glaciers 15,000 years ago. The site is also in the Green Belt.

Opportunities: Despite not being one of the approved ‘preferred sites’ in the draft 2018 Local List, the proposed 516 residential dwellings and infrastructure would help address York’s housing shortage.

Impact: The developer proposes to create a ‘buffer zone’ between the site and the bog to stop ground water dispersion and changes to the water table resulting from development adversely impacting on the bog.

Concerns / benefits: The evidence provided for the ‘buffer zone’ is insufficiently compelling to mitigate and offset the risk of damage to the ancient fenlands. As has been seen at other ancient fenland sites, such as Star Carr, once the water table is altered, the impact to archaeological deposits can be severe. Furthermore, the development would needlessly impact on the Green Belt. The Trust would prefer, where possible, redevelopment of brownfield sites rather than expansion onto the Green Belt.

York Civic Trust’s response: Objection

December 2018

Application Address:  Station Building, Railway Station, Station Road, York YO24 1AY

Planning reference no.: 18/00005/LBC

Proposal: Internal alterations including new customer zone, first class lounge, TVM housing, ATM building and ladies toilets following demolition of existing concourse building and associated reinstatement works

Importance: Built by Thomas Prosser, Benjamin Burley and William Peachey in the 1870s, with later additions, York railway station is amongst the most attractive railways stations in the UK. It is Grade II* listed and in the York Central Historic Core Conservation Area (Area 22: Railway Area).

Opportunities: LNER have inherited this application from Virgin East Coast, and have offered a revised scheme (Nov. 2018) for internal changes. A sensitive conversion scheme might provide better amenities for train users, increase sight lines of the station’s aesthetic and historic features, while respecting the heritage of the site.

Impact: Little historic fabric will be lost. Most of the changes will only affect modern structures including areas of the station repaired after WW2 bomb damage. The ticket office will be moved to the room next to the current women’s WC (which will go in a space between the current ticket office and Burger King. The space created in the ticket office given over to retail. A first class lounge will be created in a parcel store near Platform 1. The ATM / Filmore & Union unit will be remodeled as a ticket vending machine [TVM] unit.

Concerns / benefits: The amenity improvements are predominantly more retail (with a slight increase in number of women WCs). However, the face-to-face ticket provision will be vastly reduced to four booths, with an insufficient queuing area, and lead to very poor usability between the inner and outer concourses. The replacement of the ATM unit with a TVM one is a missed opportunity to better reveal the station’s sight lines and heritage.

There is the need for a more holistic approach with greater coordination between LNER, Network Rail, Queen Street bridge removal, York Central and the railway station frontage The latter will relocate the taxi rank and drop-off lane in the glazed porte-cochère to the parcels office area of the station, freeing up this considerable space for LNER’s proposals and less detrimental to the heritage of the station than those currently being proposed in this application.

York Civic Trust’s response: General comment

November 2018

Lord Deramore’s Primary School building. IMAGE: Tim Green.

Application Address: Lord Deramore’s Primary School, School Lane, Heslington, York YO10 5EE

Planning reference no.: 18/02242/LBC

Proposal: Conversion of former primary school into 2no. residential dwellings with associated alterations.

Importance: Lord Deramore’s Primary School is an attractive building dating to 1856 in the Gothic-style, with an early-C20 rear classroom addition by renowned York architect, Walter Brierley. The school stands as a good example of local philanthropy in advance of compulsory primary education that resulted from the 1870 Education Act. Lord Deramore’s Primary School is a Grade II Listed Building and in the Heslington village Conservation Area.

Opportunities: This former school building is now looking for a new use since the primary school relocated to new buildings to the rear of the site a few years ago. A sensitive conversion scheme might restore or reveal existing historic fabric and features, especially those that were covered over or removed during mid-C20 alterations.

Impact: Some historic fabric will be lost, including a fireplace in the old master’s living quarters. New and replacement window fittings appear to be uPVC windows.

Concerns / benefits: The new use of the building could help conserve this historic building in the long-term. There is concern over the use of inappropriate materials, especially like-for-like replacements of uPVC windows. This is a missed opportunity not to restore the attractive stone casement windows of the original and Brierley aspects of the building. Overall, a greater provision of retained historic fabric and features through this application would be needed to better assess the impact of the scheme.

York Civic Trust’s response: Object

St Giles Church, Skelton. IMAGE: Diane Thornton

Application Address: St Giles Church, The Green, Skelton, York. YO30 1XU

Planning reference no.: 18/02234/FUL

Proposal: Erection of detached building to house WC.

Importance: St Giles’s Church dates to 1247 and is reputed to have been built by masons responsible for York Minster’s South Transept (either with leftover stone from the Minster or as a maquette for future building in the Minster; hence its alternative historic name being “Little St Peter’s”). The church is a Grade I Listed Building and is in the Skelton village Conservation Area.

Opportunities: The provision of WC facilities for the church would enhance the comfort of its users andthe church’s overall usability.

Impact: Some archaeological deposits in the graveyard will be lost. The use of timber in the design of the WC unit is to help it blend in with its surroundings. It is also tucked away to the rear of the church.

Concerns / benefits: Any archaeological loss might be recorded through the use of a ‘watching brief’ during construction. The provision of the amenity will enhance the usability of the church, and thus contribute to its long-term future. The design is acceptable, although the use of a more asymmetrical form, as used at Holy Trinity Goodramgate (and used as an exempla in this application), would help diminish any possibility of the wooden WC unit being mistaken as a garden / potting shed.

York Civic Trust’s response: Support

October 2018

Application Address: 35 St Marys York

Planning reference no.: 18/01890/LBC

Proposal: Alterations to internal layout to include removal of partition walls and installation of new, relocation of boiler and external flue and replacement of bathroom window

Importance: No.35 St Mary’s is an attractive, early-Victorian semi-detached property that, combined with No.36 St Mary’s, is Grade II listed. The Trust understands that No.35 is one of a number of buildings in this street built by the Rowntree family, and – according to the listing description – possibly designed by G.T. Andrews, a leading architect associated with the city at this time. The property is also in the Central Historic Core Conservation Area.

Opportunities: The internal layout of No.35 has been much changed over the years. A sensitive alteration scheme might restore and reveal existing historic fabric and layout.

Impact: It is unclear from the application whether historic fabric would be lost due to the alterations, or if it has already been removed.

Concerns / benefits: The listing description gives reference to important internal features, including first-floor fireplaces, console cornice shelf, and moulded cornices, as well as iron railings at the front of the properties for No.35 & No.36. The applicant’s Heritage Statement briefly mentions that ‘none of these features appear to survive in 2018’. This is hugely disappointing, as is the condition of the interior as seen in photos included as part of the submitted ‘Existing and Proposed A1 35 St Mary’s’ planning application drawing, which appear to show internal alterations having already been made and, apparently, in advance of Listed Building Consent having been granted.  The photos show internal walls, ceilings and presumably also cornicing all stripped away, and doors removed. An investigation into the building’s ‘missing’ historic fabric is urgently required.

York Civic Trust’s response: Object

The rear of The Priory Hotel, as seen through one of the C19 arches. IMAGE: The York Priory Hotel website.

Application Address
: Priory Hotel, 126-128 Fulford Road, York. YO10 4BE

Planning reference no.18/01308/FUL

Proposal: Conversion of guest house to 7no. residential units.

Importance: Priory Hotel is an handsome late C19 end terrace in the Fulford Road Conservation Area.  In its grounds stand part of a stone arcade dating to 1835 that was originally part of the piazza erected in front of the Theatre Royal by John Harper and later moved to Fulford Road by George Styan in 1879. (Three more arches are in situ opposite the Priory Hotel at 79 Fulford Road).  It therefore represents an important early attempt at conservation in the city and of value to the local community.

Opportunities:  The conversion of the guest house to 7no. residential units would contribute to York’s housing shortage.  The stone arcade might be made more prominent in the streetscape.

Impact: Any material loss of historic fabric in the hotel would be limited.

Concerns / benefits: No reference is given in the application to the future fate of the historic stonework in the hotel’s grounds. The arcade should ideally be conserved in situ, in the grounds of the Priory Hotel, or, failing this, found a new and suitable home (in which case, perhaps the garden space beside the Theatre Royal might be suitable?).

York Civic Trust’s response: General comment

September 2018

‘The Great North Hotel’ in 1935 – before the removal of upper floors

Application Address: Club Salvation, George Hudson Street, York, YO1 6JL

Planning reference no.: 18/01867/LBC

Proposal: Conversion of first and second floor and third and fourth floor extension to create 19no. serviced apartments, change of use of 23 and 25 Tanner Row ground floor and basement to A3 with ancillary accommodation, 27 and 29 George Hudson Street ground floor and basement will remain retail with storage, and 31 George Hudson Street ground floor and basement will be amenity space for the serviced apartments.

Importance: No.23 Tanner Row (‘Club Salvation’ nightclub) was originally known as the Great Northern Hotel and designed as a prestigious building in a prominent position on the corner of Tanner Row and George Hudson Street, the latter being created in 1877 – the likely date for the hotel’s construction. It is in the Central Historic Core Conservation Area (Character Area 21: Micklegate)

Opportunities: To improve the streetscape, which has been lessened in recent years due, amongst others, to the black facade of ‘Club Salvation’. It could also help form a visual gateway opposite the attractive, tall 1899 no.22 George Hudson Street (Grade II) by better help ‘framing’ the approach to George Hudson Street from Rougier Street.

Impact: Any material loss at ground floor level will be of modern interventions. The upper storeys on George Hudson Street will see the removal of (historic?) internal walls and the staircase at no.27. The ‘restoration’ of upper floors will inevitably raise the height of the building, although no less than historically was the case, and will likely better define George Hudson Street.

Concerns / benefits: The refurbishment of ‘Club Salvation’ will improve the streetscape and ground floor level, especially during the daytime. However, consideration will need to be given to poor air-quality on George Hudson Street, and mitigate how this will not impact on the health of residents. The “restored” upper floors, which were removed following WW2 war damage, will positively contribute to the recent redevelopment of the Rougier Street area. The removal of modern partition walls and fittings on the ground floor at no.31 George Hudson Street that are associated with the nightclub will help reinstate the property as a listed townhouse above a ground-floor retail unit. However, the proposed upper-floor alterations of nos. 27-31 George Hudson Street would see the existing duplex arrangement reconstructed as one-bedroom apartments, with the potential loss of historic material and fixtures.

York Civic Trust’s response: Support

Proposed York Central scheme, as looking westwards from the city centre towards Acomb

Application Address
:  York Central, Leeman Road, York

Planning reference no.: 18/01884/OUTM

Proposal: Outline planning application with all matters reserved for the redevelopment of York Central, Leeman Road to provide a mixed-use development comprising of up to 2,500 homes (Class C3) up to 87,693m2 of business use (Class B1a/B1b), up to 11,991m2 of retail and leisure use (Classes A1-A5 or D2), Hotels with up to 400 bedrooms (Class C1), up to 12,120m2 of nonresidential institutions (Class D1) for expansion of the National Railway Museum and provision of community uses all with associated works including new open space, parking provisions, demolition and alterations to existing buildings, and associated vehicular, rail, cycle and pedestrian access improvements.

Importance: York Central holds important heritage of two keys parts of the city’s history.  Archaeological deposits of a roman cemetery exist at the railway station of the site, and numerous buildings on the site continue to provide evidence of the city’s railway importance during the C19-C20.

Opportunities: Notwithstanding the physical constraints of the site (it is entirely surrounded by railway lines), York Central is a once-in-a-century opportunity not only to develop the site itself but to provide York with a new quarter with transformational potential for the city.  The outline application needs to be ambitious in its aspirations, remarkable in design, and extraordinary to experience, as suggested by our members in two ‘Future York’ workshops on the future of the site held in February 2018.

Impact: Mostly low impact on the standing building railway heritage.  However, there will need to be a balance between good place-making for the new York Central community without being detrimental to surrounding communities.  Likewise, any benefits arising from the site will need to be shared between York citizens and those who will work in or come to visit York Central.

Concerns / benefits: Overall, the proposed use of very tall buildings (upto 8-storeys high), ribbon development along a ‘spine’ access road, a lack of provision of schools and other amenities, and concerns over the sustainability of the transport offered, all means there is nothing inspiring in the proposed scheme to make it unique, sustainable, or as a substantial asset for all citizens of York.  Any benefits are likely to be for the National Railway Museum due to its expansion and use of Leeman Road, which would likely boost tourism to the city, but at an unacceptable cost to York residents in terms of more road congestion through the site and poor place-making for the York Central community.

York Civic Trust’s response: Object

Application Address
York Cemetery Trust Kiosk, York Cemetery, Cemetery Road, York, YO10 5AJ

Planning reference no.: 18/01621/LBC

Proposal: Single storey extension and alterations to building to form volunteers centre with associated facilities and tool store (resubmission).

Importance: York Cemetery dates from 1837.  It was designed as a garden cemetery by James Piggott Pritchett, an architect with a long-established connection with York (including the façade of the York Assembly Rooms and The Savings Bank on St Helen’s Square).  It is a Grade II* Listed landscape and is one of only two privately owned Victorian Cemeteries in the UK.

Opportunities: To improve the street presence of the cemetery, especially if the concrete garage / shed at the front of the site was to be removed.

Impact: Mostly low impact on the historic setting, continuing to be subservient in size and detailing to the adjacent Greek-Revival style Grade II Cemetery Lodge.

Concerns / benefits: This resubmitted scheme would lead to the improvement of the cemetery’s setting, especially with the proposed removal of the concrete garage.

York Civic Trust’s response: Support

July 2018

Application addressNorth Country Properties Limited, 72 Goodramgate, York YO1 7LF

Planning reference no.: 18/01265/LBC

Proposal: Internal and external works including structural timber and render repairs to the front and gable elevations.

Importance: 72 Goodramgate forms part of ‘Lady Row’, a C14 row of timber-framed medieval houses with jettied fronts.  These are the oldest row houses in York.  This Grade I listed building is in the Central Historic Core Conservation Area.

Opportunities: There is here a possibility to provide sustainable and much needed conservation repairs to this property following an incident when a vehicle impacted with the corner of the property, but also since the inappropriate use of C20 concrete render.

Impact: The replacement of decayed and damaged medieval timbers and replacement of the concrete render with a lime based one will help prevent further deterioration of the building.

Concerns / benefits: The remedial work will benefit the individual building through making its structurally secure. This will also sustain its contribution to the streetscape and conservation area.  Historic England’s report that the work has likely been carried out in advance of professional conservation advice is a concern, as it overlooks the consultation guidance of this national heritage body.  A similar use of concrete rendering appears to have been used for the rest of Lady Row during the C20, meaning it is likely suffering similar decay of its medieval timbers.

York Civic Trust’s response: a general comment

Proposed scheme, as seen from Clifford’s Tower

Application addressInfinity Motorcycles, 46 Piccadilly, York YO1 9NU

Planning reference no.: 18/01296/FULM

Proposal: Erection of a 6-storey hotel with 155 bedrooms, with a 6-storey apartment block of 8 apartments, following the demolition of existing buildings.

Importance: This is a historic site of archaeological importance.  It is also central to the Council’s Castle Gateway Masterplan which aims to redevelop and better integrate the Piccadilly, (Clifford’s Tower) Castle Complex, and St George’s Field areas as a gateway to the city centre from the south.  The location will form the backdrop to Clifford’s Tower and the Castle Museum buildings, which are Grade I listed.

Opportunities: A hotel would be a positive contribution to the city and in keeping with the Castle Gateway Masterplan ambitions.

Impact: Planning approval was granted for a similar, but smaller scheme in 2017 (17/00429/FULM). The apartments are to be 1.5m taller facing the River Foss.  There is also to be a new 6-storey structure joining the hotel and the apartments. Opportunity for a pedestrian / cycle bridge across the River Foss, which is part of the Castle Gateway Masterplan will not be compatible with this site anymore.

Concerns / benefits: The increased size of the riverside aprtments and connecting building will be over-development, and a consequence negative impact on historic sites and river/streetscape.  It will also have a detrimental impact on the strategic implementation of the wider Castle Gateway Masterplan, limiting the position of the intended pedestrian / cycle bridge across the River Foss to land to the south of Ryedale House, where there would be poor visibility for it.  These concern outweigh any public benefit from greater residential and hotel provision in the city..

York Civic Trust’s response: object

Recent Planning Decisions

Below is a list of recent planning decisions made for casework of interest to the Trust. A separate webpage features all archived casework that has now been determined.

October 2018

18/02222/LBC  –  Rowntree Wharf, Navigation Road
Internal alterations associated with conversion of ground floor office into 9 no. residential units.

July 2018

18/01197/LBC  –  Mr Ps Curious Tavern, 71 Low Petergate, York YO1 7HY.  Internal and external works including replacement cast iron rainwater pipe to front elevation, replace rotten timbers and splice in replacement oak, rebuild 2no. brick infill panels and install structural steelwork to support front elevation wall

18/01245/FUL – Gusto, 2 – 4 Little Stonegate, York YO1 8AX.  A resubmitted application to change the use of the public highway in order to provide outdoor seating area for this cafe

18/01176/FULM  –  Ryedale House, 58 – 60 Piccadilly York YO1 9PE.  Erection of four-storey extension to provide 4no. flexible use commercial units at ground floor level with 14no. new/enlarged apartments, substations, and balcony extensions to 3no. existing apartments and widening of existing pavement along Piccadilly with associated carriageway narrowing, landscaping and ancillary works
DecisionApprovedfollowing a revised scheme that will reduce the massing of the extension and very slightly set it back from the boundary line on Piccadilly.