York & North Yorkshire

Clifford's Tower: Legal bid lodged over visitor centre plans

Artist's impression of visitor centre at base of Clifford's Tower Image copyright English Heritage
Image caption The visitor centre would be for ticketing and providing information about the history of the 13th Century building

A legal bid has been lodged against plans to construct a visitor centre at the foot of York's Clifford's Tower.

English Heritage was given the go-ahead for a £2m project at the base of the 13th Century tower.

A petition signed by 3,778 people against the move has been presented to York City Council and English Heritage.

Councillor John Hayes, who has applied to the High Court for a judicial review, described the planning process as "deeply flawed".

A council spokesman said: "We are entirely confident we have followed due process at all stages of the application."

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Mr Hayes, who represents the Micklegate Ward, said: "I believe that this is the wrong building in the wrong place, I think that a visitor centre would be better placed elsewhere if one is to be built.

"I also strongly believe that the planning process to decide on this proposal was deeply flawed."

Image copyright Edward McMaihin
Image caption The bulk of concerns about the scheme relate to the construction of the centre at the base of the mound

The council needed to respond to the application before the end of the month, he added.

Objectors claim the centre, part of a wider scheme to improve access to the ruin, would damage views of the tower.

Planning councillors granted permission for the changes by 11 votes to three in October.

Image copyright ENGLISH HERITAGE
Image caption The scheme would also make significant amendments to the interior of the tower

City of York Council said it was "disappointed" a judicial review had been lodged, which would cause an "unnecessary delay" to the improvement project.

An English Heritage spokesperson said: "We remain committed to this project which will conserve Clifford's Tower, tell its story better, and improve the quality of visits to this historic landmark.

"We await the High Court's decision on whether judicial review of the planning permission will go forward."

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