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Clifford's Tower, York in controversial legal battle

News Article, York, North Yorkshire

Article By: Dave Roberts

First Published: 8 May 2017

CLIFFORD'S TOWER, York has a long history of controversy, once again it is surrounded by apposing factions. This time (less bloody) with the opponents doing their battle in the courtroom.

The conflict arose when English Heritage, (the owner of Clifford's Tower) had a planning application approved to create a new visitor centre at the foot of the tower's mound (the mott).

People far and wide have objected to the planned development and more recently a local independent councillor: Johnny Hayes (MBE) took legal action in an attempt to block the development.

Promoting the planned development English Heritage said:

"The fascinating story of Clifford's Tower will finally be told thanks to a major investment by English Heritage into this York landmark.

"Parts of the tower which have been unseen for decades will be revealed, a new timber deck at roof level will allow visitors to better enjoy the spectacular views of York, while new interpretation will do justice to the monument's centuries-old history.

"A new visitor centre, nestling into the mound at ground level, will ensure that visitors are given a warm welcome and will also reveal a section of the tower's substantial 19th-century wall, buried since 1935."


"At present, a visit to Clifford's Tower is far from ideal and does not reflect the site's importance, both nationally and within the city of York.

"There is very little interpretation, there is an unsightly shop in the centre of the tower, and the steep flight of stairs up to the tower deters many people. Something has to be done.

"Our project at Clifford's Tower will do justice to both the history and the experience of visiting this important York landmark."

English Heritage, said they consulted communities widely, providing an email address on their website and invite people to share their thoughts: cliffordsrevealed@english-heritage.org.uk

A judicial review, launched by Councillor: Hayes took place last week in Leeds. Mr Justice Kerr, decided to reserve his decision while he considers the evidence.

Cllr Hayes, said he hoped the planned development would be quashed, but also accepted he could lose the expensive legal battle - ultimately he hoped progress would be made through discussions with English Heritage and the other objectors.

He proposed a solution could involve the development of Tower Street, Car Park - which is located at the base of the tower.

The verdict of the Judicial Enquiry is expected within the coming weeks.





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