York Civic Trust is interested in good modern design which is sensitive in scale and context to its environment. We have found that these concerns are of wide interest across the generations in York. Buildings need to be good neighbours and to complement and ideally enhance those which are already there. We have a powerful voice and in a city of such historic relevance it is important that there is a body to put forward an informed and independent view.
Here is the response which the Trust sent in September 2016 to the City of York Council with our views on the latest draft of the Local Development Plan.
LDP Preferred Sites YCT Response Sept 2016.pdf

The Lord Mayor has recognised the Trust as one of his 2016-17 charities – see this page, You can have fun while raising money for the Trust.
Our Planning Committee visited Bootham Park Hospital to assess its condition, given concerns about future uses of this highly significant set of buildings. Here is a document with the Trust’s formal views on the Hospital and its future.

Statement – Bootham Park Hospital Feb 2016.pdf

The Civic Trust has a programme to install plaques in York on buildings and at locations of particular historic interest. Our most recent was on 26 July, celebrating Frankie Howerd’s first home. You can find more about our plaques on this page.

Click on the link aside to see information about the Trust’s 2015 publication, Sustaining the City Beautiful. Aimed at local residents and York’s 7 million visitors a year, the 22 page book is full of ideas to improve our city centre. You could join one of our project groups and make a real difference.
One of our current concerns is the epidemic of A-boards in the city centre. The Council has re-opened this vexed question (see this page) and has even proposed a licensing system for the boards. This seems an unnecessary – and perhaps unlawful – solution. In the wrong place an A-board is a dangerous piece of clutter.

It is dangerous because pedestrians, including those with impaired vision or restricted mobility might fall or be forced off the pavement into the road. Both pavement and road are “public highway” and it is unlawful to obstruct it. The boards are clutter because our attractive city is sullied by poor designed and ugly boards. York’s historic streetscape has a special character. It is enhanced by well-designed hanging signs, which the Council controls. It is also enhanced by elegant banners. Neither of these clutter the pavement or create the visual muddle of A-boards. We have called on the Council to use wisely its powers to control advertisements, and remove obstacles on the public highways.

The Trust was consulted by the City over its draft Local Plan, which is not yet agreed or ready to go the the Government’s Inspector. The Chairman of the Trust has written to each leader of the local political parties to inform them of the Trust’s view that a Local Plan is completely essential for York:

Local Plan – Trust views.pdf

As an independent charity, the Trust unhesitatingly expressed concerns over reductions in the City’s conservation staff, and the resulting lack of specialist conservation advice. The Chairman of our Planning Committee wrote to the City: her letter is on this page.

Nevertheless the Trust is glad to work closely with the City of York Council and regularly to comment in expert detail on current planning applications. We have for instance expressed views about the proposal to convert the former Council offices in St Leonard’s Place into houses; and we have commented on plans for 660 student flats within the walls of the former St Joseph’s Convent in Lawrence Street, and on new housing planned behind the Folk Hall in New Earswick. We will also be commenting on plans to develop the former British Sugar site.

The Trust’s Education Committee has a programme of activities with young people from primary school up to and including both Universities in York. Our public speaking competitions take place in the prestigious settings of the Council Chamber of the City of York’s Guildhall and of the Merchant Adventurer’s Hall. See our Education page and the Public Speaking Competitions page.

Each year in our illustrated Annual Report (sent to all members) the Trust describes important changes in the city of York as well as our own activities.

Click on the pages at the side for some of our current activities.

We are always keen to have new members who can help us with their skills and opinions.
Members’ events are on this page – look through the calendar you will find there.
If you are interested in joining the Trust, this page has our very simple membership form.