In March 2013 the Yorkshire Post’s Magazine profiled the city of York, with the Civic Trust in lead place. Michael Hickling reported on “how the Civic Trust plans to make a neglected area a focus of global tourism”. With Chairman Peter Addyman and then Director Peter Brown, the reporter described plans to improve Exhibition Square, the York Theatre Royal, St Leonard’s Place and York Art Gallery, and admired the improvements already made to the De Grey Rooms by York Conservation Trust. Councillor Dave Merrett also referred to plans to improve traffic flow and relieve Bootham Bar of vehicle intrusion.

Three applications to increase the retail provision at this out of town location were considered by the City Council Planning Committee in May 2012. Two of the proposals were refused, but a third, linked to the provision of a community stadium, was approved.

Many expected the decision to be called-in for a public inquiry, but the Secretary of State declined to do so, saying the matter was only of local interest.
The Trust had argued that the scheme was against the governments own guidance, as outlined in the recently published National Planning Policy Framework.

The proposals to increase the retail provision at Monks Cross by a further 500,000 square feet means the total out-of-town provision on the edge of York will be the equivalent of Meadowhall in Sheffield. Many argue Sheffield was damaged by that shopping mall and York would suffer a similar fate. Many of the listed buildings in York are used by private individuals for a retail function – if they go out of business it will threaten the very character of York, which is our unique selling point.


This new six storey hotel has a significant impact on the setting of the Grade II* West Offices/City HQ scheme and the Trust made representations to this effect. Planning permission was granted, but with significant changes to the details of the frontage and materials used. As with the West Offices scheme, this development is complete. For more details click here

The application was for a three storey hotel in the moat next to St. Maurice’s Road and adjacent to the City Walls. The York Civic Trust objected to this scheme because of the substantial harm it will cause to the area and recommended refusal. The officers in the planning department agreed with this assessment and recommended refusal but the applicant withdrew the scheme before the committee meeting commenced. Since this scheme was proposed, English Heritage has produced a policy document outlining what development they would accept within the vicinity of the City Walls. The Trust welcomes this plan and feels it will be a necessary document which developers will need to refer to. For more details click here

In May 2010 the owners lodged a planning application to convert a derelict coach house, near the city walls. Two applications were made, one to convert to a single dwelling which we supported, the other to create a seven bedroom adjunct to the main building with attendant parking which the Trust opposed. The planning committee refused the application for the bedroom adjunct and deferred the single dwelling application. Planning permission has now been granted for a single dwelling. For more details click here


This conversion to a high quality hotel – the Cedar Court – was welcomed as an exemplar for its attention to detail and design quality. For more details click here

We welcomed the principle of development, but permission was granted for 700 dwellings on a 3.9 hectare site. In our view this is a gross over development and far beyond any government guidelines for brownfield sites. For more details click here We have welcomed the building of new HQ Offices by Hiscox, who consulted the Trust during all their considerations.

THE YORK WHEEL In January 2011 an application was made to locate the Wheel in York immediately behind York Art Gallery. The Trust took the view that its proximity to so many of York’s important buildings and the impact on the setting of York Minster would be harmful to the ambience of York. In the event, the Wheel was installed in the garden of the Royal York Hotel, which it has since left.
In February 2013 York Museums Trust began a programme to improve the area behind the Art Gallery as part of a major renovation.

A long-running saga which since 2003 has seen four attempts to develop the site. The early applications were refused on a number of grounds and those taken to Appeal, were dismissed by the Inspector. The most recent without the retail element, has been agreed and development proceeds. For more details click here

A redevelopment of this former garage site was granted permission by the Council, but the Trust was concerned with the scale, design and dominant effect it would have on its neighbour 33 Bootham (a listed building). For more details click here

In June 2009 the owners of Grays Court applied for permission to erect an electricity sub-station next to the City Walls. We objected along with the National Trust and others, and in the event the application was refused. For more details click here

A series of improvements were proposed to the area around the base of the Bar and its Barbican. The intention was to reduce the amount of clutter and enhance the visual appearance, whilst making it a safer place for pedestrians and tourists. For more details click here

An earlier attempt to locate a new HQ building on the Hungate site was withdrawn due to opposition from English Heritage and ourselves. The new scheme which makes use of the original railway station (G.T.Andrews 1841), has demonstrated the benefits of marrying a modern extension with a restored listed building. For more details click here

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