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. The planning system allows three types of response: support, objection, or to make a general comment on an application.
Application address: Bathurst House, 86 Micklegate, York, YO1 6LQ
Planning reference no.: 18/00940/LBC
Proposal: Internal and external alterations including demolition of existing single storey rear extension, installation of glazed link, two storey rear extension, removal of internal walls and internal and external repair works in association with change of use from office to dwelling.
Importance: This Grade II* listed building is in the Central Historic Core Conservation Area. The property is of high significance as an example of early C18 architecture and is a positive contributor to the Conservation Area.
Opportunities: The possibility to return Bathurst House to its original use as a single residence.
Impact: External conservation of the building will subtly improve its street impact. Demolition of a rear extension and internal stud walls are of recent additions. The glazed link will not be visible from Micklegate, Toft Green or Barker Lane.
Concerns / benefits: The use of the building once more as a residential use is likely to provide its continued care and ensure its long-term sustainability. Replacement of C20 office stud walling and general opening out of the room space will provide a better appreciation of the historic interior. Conservation attention will need to be given to the reinstatement of a blocked window opening on the gable end the C18 service wing and the removal below it of original brickwork to form an open fireplace.
York Civic Trust’s response: Support
Application address: Mali 5 Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate York YO1 8BL
Planning reference no.: 18/00738/FUL
Proposal: Change of use of barbers to restaurant/bar and formation of roof-top terrace with balustrade to rear.
Importance: While this is a C20 building of little merit, the site is located in a highly sensitive historic location closely connected to the ancient medieval streets of Colliergate, St Saviourgate, and Fossgate. It is within the city’s Historic Core Conservation Area.
Opportunities: The change of use continues to offer a public benefit.
Impact: The internal changes would not be detrimental to the streetscape and possibly make a fuller use of the property. The addition of a roof-top terrace will be visible (and audible) from surrounding streets, including Fossgate.
Concerns / benefits: The roof-top terrace and balustrade will diminish the character of the streetscape and conservation area, needlessly distracting the eye from one of the city’s Key Historic Core Views: the view of the Minster from Fossgate and the Foss Bridge. This concern outweighs any marginal public benefit of more catering provision in the city.
York Civic Trust’s response: Object
Application address: St Joseph’s Convent Of Poor Clare Colettines, Lawrence Street, York, YO10 3EB
Planning reference no.: 18/00639/LBC
Proposal: Conversion, alteration and part demolition of existing buildings (the Lodge and Extern House) to provide 10no. apartments and erection of 4no. dwellings
Importance: This former convent is a fine example of the Catholic Revival movement in England during the C19. The Lodge and Extern House are handsome buildings of aesthetic and architectural merit, both being designed, like the rest of the original convent, by George Goldie in 1870-75. The whole convent site is Grade II listed.
Opportunities: While the ability to read the whole site as a former convent has been greatly and lamentably undermined by development since 2014, the historic connection of the site as a former convent could be enhanced through a sensitive conservation solution being used with these last remaining buildings. The Lodge, in particular, has great potential for this, due to its street presence on Lawrence Street.
Impact: Externally, both buildings will remain in a similar size and almost similar architectural form. The new 4no. dwelling development is unmistakably C21, but deferential in size and location to the C19 buildings. Internally, the buildings will be majorly remodeled, and much more so than the previously approved scheme of 2014: 14/02405/LBC.
Concerns / benefits: There is major concern for the near complete loss of internal historic fixtures and fittings, as well as the ability to read the original layout of the building through the loss of internal rooms, staircases and corridors. The listing description details these features, which are still present, and justification would need to be given for their loss. The benefit of the re-use of the buildings would be for housing targets and their upkeep in a used form.
York Civic Trust’s response: Object
Application address: 48A Marygate, York, YO30 7BH
Planning reference no.: 18/00452/LBC
Proposal: Erection of two storey dwelling following demolition of existing garage block with detached outbuilding forming studio to rear
Importance: This is a historic and aesthetically sensitive site, situated between two Grade II listed properties (C17 and C19) and opposite the Grade I listed St Olave’s Church (C15). It is within the city’s Historic Core Conservation Area.
Opportunities: To add a small residential unit, and as such contribute to the city’s housing need.
Impact: This is an unapologetic C21 design. The building will be near the front of the plot and prominent in size (two storeys) and material (including zinc shingle tiles); it will not be subtle.
Concerns / benefits: While C21 architecture in York should be supported when of appropriate ambition and scale and in a suitable setting, there are major concerns that the choice of materials, architectural form and setting here are ill-suited.
York Civic Trust’s response: Object
Application Address: York Cemetery Trust Kiosk, York Cemetery, Cemetery Road, York, YO10 5AJ
Planning reference no.: 18/00384/LBC
Proposal: Single storey extension to form visitors centre with associated facilities and tool store
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 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: An improvement to the setting of the cemetery. Some of the materials to be used (esp. the coloured aluminium frame) are insensitive to the site.
York Civic Trust’s response: Support (application subsequently withdrawn)