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Early in January 2001, an anonymous tip-off to the Press alleged malpractice in the City of York Council relating to the Coppergate II proposal. Specifically, that the Planning Committee had been shielded from a report which was critical of Land Securities' proposal to build on the land next to Clifford's Tower.

To their credit, the Council launched an internal investigation and have produced the report which Council Members never got to see as part of the decision-making process. However, attempts made to justify the suppression of the document now make the issue seem more embarrassing for the Council. We would invite you to read it for yourself to see if you can reconcile its content with the Assistant Director's report to the Planning Committee:-

Download the full report here.
download 13k pdf
castlegate.pdf (size = 13k)

Read below some of the observations of the Conservation Architect and the way in which they are contradicted or ignored by her boss in his report to the Planning Committee. How can Councillors make the right decision if their senior officers are hiding the facts from them?


Conservation Architect's Report (withheld from Committee).
Assistant Director's Report to Committee.
"Unit 10 is unhappily juxtaposed with the female prison. The 'jump' forward of the building line does not respect the public importance of this building and it obliterates its existence on approach from Castlegate. The original intention of creating enclosure for this building grouping (Esher 1968) is not achieved." "Officers do not agree that the buildings should be set back so as to achieve a complete view of the Women's Prison from the current end of Castlegate. Indeed, officers would concur with the Developer's Architect's opinion and the principles in the Esher Report that the buildings proposed begin to create a fourth side to the Eye of York square, thus enclosing the space and benefiting the setting of this group of buildings."

"The increase in height of the residential component of the longer building on Castlegate makes the building look top heavy. This quality is exaggerated by the overhang which is too pronounced."

" The Castlegate elevations are ponderous and too big in scale over their entire length. "

"The proposed development, in its revised form, does affect the setting of the nearby listed buildings but not adversely in officers' opinions. By amending the datelined elevations and reducing the height and bulk of the roof treatment the revised scheme is no longer considered to have an adverse impact on the setting of these buildings around the Eye of York."
"The location of service bays in front of Clifford's Tower in unfortunate. However the amplification of their significance by the introduction of a public space here is highly inappropriate and possible dangerous. The design of this space detracts from the strength of the form of the extended base of the mound." "The development is considered appropriate to its location in respect of Clifford's Tower and the Eye of York in terms of its scale, proportions, height, overall design and materials. The provision of an area of open space at the base of Clifford's Tower will improve the setting of Clifford's Tower."