English Heritage submits planning application following consultation on new Clifford’s Tower plans

  • English Heritage submits planning application for Clifford’s Tower to City of York Council.
  • Roof deck and staircase changes aim to improve visitor experience
  • Visitor centre not part of plans

Planning application

English Heritage has today submitted a planning application for Clifford’s Tower to City of York Council, after a public consultation in autumn 2019 showed support for improvements to the historic site.

The proposals are the results of 18 months of engagement with key stakeholders and members of the public in York following the decision not to proceed with constructing a new visitor building at the base of Clifford’s Tower’s mound in June 2018. They allow for new internal walkways and a roof deck within the tower, constructed in a way which helps protect the towers historic stonework and helps visitors better understand the history of the tower and take advantage of the unrivalled views of the York skyline. These elements previously received planning permission in 2016, but are being resubmitted as part of the application.

Other changes include new handrails beside the staircase in the mound at the front of the tower and resting points for visitors during the climb. English Heritage held a public consultation in autumn 2019, inviting public views on four options to improve the tower’s main staircase. The option being submitted received the clearest public support in that consultation. If approved, the proposals would also allow for a new three wheeled vehicle and bench close to the base of the tower’s mound to allow staff to welcome visitors at ground level.


Andrea Selley, English Heritage’s Territory Director in the North of England, said:

"Clifford’s Tower is one of the most important historic sites in York, and English Heritage is committed to investing in the site in a way that protects its historic fabric and improves the experience of those visiting.

“These new proposals follow more than 18 months of consultation with key stakeholders and the people of York, and I am proud of the way they balance protecting the tower, providing much-needed improvements, and respecting the visual appearance of the tower.”

“We believe this is a good solution for the future of Clifford’s Tower, but we want to make sure that everyone agrees. I encourage anyone with an interest in the future of Clifford’s Tower to view the plans on the City of York Council website. It is important for everyone that we get this right."

Paul Whiting, Head of Marketing and Communications at Make It York added:

“We welcome the significant investment into Clifford’s Tower to help continue to conserve this iconic piece of York’s built heritage and indeed to improve the overall visitor experience so that many more people can discover the stories held within for years to come. ”

Though the plans for Clifford’s Tower are being delivered separately to City of York Council’s Castle Gateway Project and York Museums Trust’s plans for the transformation of York Castle Museum, the three organisations will work together so that the story of York Castle is told across the sites in a coherent way.

The application will now proceed for consideration by City of York Council. Once accepted, the planning application will be available to view on the council website. Most planning applications are decided within eight weeks, unless they are considered unusually large or complex, in which case the time limit is extended to 13 weeks. If permission is granted, a separate application for Scheduled Monument Consent from Historic England will be required before work can begin.

All images © Hugh Broughton Architects

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