The Trust ‘s programme of work which needs to be undertaken to sustain the beautiful city of York is on this page.

In September 2016 the Trust offered a formal response to the City Council’s request for preferred sites within its draft Local Development Plan.  Here is the PDF.


The Trust has recently offered detailed and constructive comments on the City Council’s published proposals for York Central – the ‘teardrop’ site behind the railway station and next to the National Railway Museum.  We have encouraged a bold view – why not a Gateshead Sage style concert venue?  Or a Garden Bridge across the Ouse?  We have been critical of the minimal ideas for improved access into and out of the site, for people and for traffic, and of the very high buildings suggested.  Here is a PDF with our views (nine pages).


The Civic Trust scrutinised and commented at length on the draft Local Plan for York issued by the City of York Council in 2013.  We commented again in summer 2014 on the specific sites which the Council raised after the massive consultation response.  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:


The Trust is happy to publish this critique of the 2013 draft Local Plan by one of our members, Professor Colin Campbell:


(11 pages)

Other live topics are A-Boards in York streets; the derelict former Reynard’s Garage on Piccadilly; housing plans by Joseph Rowntree Foundation at Red Lodge, New Earswick; and specialist student residency builders Vita creating another 660 student dwellings in former St Joseph’s Convent, Lawrence Street.

The importance of the architectural merit of a town, and the need for constant consideration of urban appearances, is highlighted in correspondence in the Guardian in 2014 (link here).  The Chair of the Civic Trust Planning Committee, Dr Jane Grenville, wrote to the City of York Council Leader and the City Chief Executive deploring the notion of conservation staff cuts, as “cutting an artery”.  Her letter is on this page.

Previously the York Press has cited former Trust Chairman Ron Cooke, former Trustee and Lord Mayor Janet Hopton, and Trust member and former chair of York Conservation Area Advisory Panel Alison Sinclair, all expressing concern over City of York Council proposals to reduce its City Archaeologist and Landscape Architect posts to three days a week.  Among their concerns:  “Reduced City expertise could have a very damaging impact on the conservation of the historic environment in York.  Yet the city’s heritage is fundamental to York’s future prosperity.  Maintaining York’s heritage above and below ground requires staff of experience and ability.”  The absence of special conservation advice could jeopardise pre-application discussions and decisions on applications affecting listed buildings, of which York has many

In other news, the Trust is co-operating with a City of York Council scheme to bring back into use rooms above retail and business in the city which could be dwellings: this is called ‘Living over the Shop’.  There are many streets in York, such as Coney Street, Stonegate, Petergate, where a door besides a shop leads to rooms upstairs which would be good to live in if renovated.  If you are the owner or leaseholder of such a place, Dr David Fraser, Chief Executive of the Trust, would like to hear from you: His email is here and his phone number is 01904 655543.

See below for more details of earlier planning applications.

The application to convert the Grade II* listed former station, hotel and railway offices, called ‘West Offices’, on Station Rise into a headquarters building for the City of York Council, was considered by the Trust’s Planning Committee in 2010, and the scheme was approved with conditions. Archaeological excavations were first undertaken, confirming the existence of a Roman bath-house. Work involved clearing the site of all the later additions and inappropriate development. Trust members visited the building in 2012, and heard about the challenges faced by the developer and the City Council. Details of the conversion were published in the Trust’s 2012 Annual Report. For more details click here

The latest scheme to develop the site gained planning permission in 2010. Work was completed on the ‘Time Office’ building and Harrison Developments now occupies this. The quality of the conversion has been welcomed by the Trust as an examplar of how to adapt a listed building to modern day standards. It is to be hoped that the same standard of conversion will apply to the other listed buildings on the site. David Wilson Homes are building flats and Henry Boot are converting the listed buildings on the site.  For more details click here

An application was made in 2010 to erect blocks of student flats which would not only wrap around St Lawrence church but be placed close by 11 listed buildings and a Scheduled Ancient Monument. The Trust opposed this scheme. The planning committee were unanimous in their refusal of this scheme, deeming it to be insufficient quality for the site and an over development. A further application has been lodged with the City of York Council. For more details click here.