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.


November 2019

Application Address: 50 Low Petergate
Planning reference no.: 19/01979/LBC

Image: York Press, picture: Frank Dwyer

Proposal: Internal alterations to create first floor apartment and new door to future apartment on second floor and third floors.

Importance: 50 Low Petergate is part of a 19th century terrace and a prominent building along Petergate. It retains several internal original features including stairs and fireplaces and is a Grade II listed building within the York Central Historic Core Conservation Area.

Opportunities: Additional residential units would help with York’s housing shortage particularly in the centre of York which has seen an increase in hotels and holiday lets.

Concerns and benefits: The second and third floors have already been converted to residential space and any alternations will likely have a minimal impact on historic fabric.  The proposed design makes good use of the existing layout of the floor space, limiting unnecessary impacts to the building. The Trust appreciates the care taken in the proposal to retain historic detailing where possible, including remaining skirting.

York Civic Trust’s response: Support

Application Address: Plot 2A, The Retreat, 107 Heslington Road
Planning reference no.: 19/02017/FULM

View of the South East & Deliveries Area. Image from submitted application materials.

Proposal: Erection of 3 storey healthcare centre including 46 bed-spaces, associated treatment rooms, car parking, servicing areas and landscaping.

Importance: The area of proposed development is part of the York Green Belt and The Retreat & Heslington Road Conservation Area. It is a popular area for dog walkers and the adjacent road is used by students to access the University of York Heslington campus.

Opportunities: Additional facility space will enable the Retreat to reach more people as a mental healthcare provider.

Concerns and benefits: The proposed expansion will enable the Retreat to provide additional mental healthcare facilities to the public; however, the design of the proposed scheme is very conservative. A bolder design would be more in keeping with the impact of the original Retreat building by John Bevans would have made on its completion in 1797.

While the proposed massing of the new building is acceptable for the site, the Trust has reservations about the ability for future expansion of the clinic, pending its success. Any future growth would likely lead to expansion either vertically or by acquiring adjoining land (such as the Tuke Centre). Neither would be welcomed by the Trust. 

York Civic Trust’s response: General comment

October 2019

Application Address: Vacant Site, Eboracum Way, York, YO31 7RE
Planning reference no.: 19/01467/FULM

Proposal: Erection of a 5 storey apartment building plus basement for 65 residential units. Includes car parking and landscaping.

Importance: This area of York has also seen a lot of recent growth and development and it is important that new builds remain sensitive to the general York aesthetic and surrounding residential units. Layerthorpe also contains important views of the Minster.

Opportunities: The area is presently an undeveloped vacant lot. A new structure could enhance the streetscape.

Concerns and benefits: 65 new residential units would help with York’s current housing shortage; however, the massing of the proposal is out of proportion with the surrounding Victorian properties. While there is precedent in the area for new four storey builds, the proposed fire storey construction sets a dangerous precedent for the area, particularly along Layerthorpe. The design is missing an opportunity to be more sympathetic to the surrounding residential units and general York aesthetic.  

York Civic Trust’s response: Object

Application Address: Zygmunt Curry and Sons Ltd Glen Garage 12 Hawthorn Grove York, YO31 7XZ
Planning reference no.: 19/01077/FUL

Proposal: This is a revised design for an earlier application for the demolition of the existing car showroom and construction of 8 no. residential apartments.

Importance: This building is in a prominent location at the junction of Glen Road and Hawthorn Grove. It is within the Heworth Character Area and is also an area of archaeological importance; the area has Roman burial remains and evidence of medieval and early-modern agriculture.

Concerns and benefits: New residential units will contribute to York’s housing shortage; however, the eclectic fenestration of the proposed design sits uncomfortably with the uniformity of the surrounding Victorian terraces. The prominent location of this building requires a clever piece of architectural design so as not to unbalance the use of the space.

York Civic Trust’s response: General comment

February 2019

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


October 2018

Application Address: Priory Hotel, 126-128 Fulford Road, York. YO10 4BE
Planning reference no.18/01308/FUL

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

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

Application Address:  York Central, Leeman Road, York
Planning reference no.: 18/01884/OUTM

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

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

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

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.