Castle Area Campaign news 2003 Clifford's Tower logo

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The massacre of Jews in 1190

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Missing City of York Council report

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Petition against Coppergate II

Yorkshire celebrities' comments

Demonstration against Shoppergate


Earlier news from 2002, 2001, '98-2000

2nd December 2003 - Land Securities is not appealing
Well we knew that anyway! But seriously folks, this is great news. The developer will not be attempting to appeal against the ruling of the Public Inquiry. It means that the citizens of York and our many supporters were right all along. The Planning Inspectorate and the Government agreed with us and now the developers have had to concede it too. So what next? Well, the Council promises free and fair consultations, maybe in the New Year. Watch this space.

31st October 2003 - Campaign spirits rise
English Heritage had a ghost hunter at Clifford's Tower on Halloween. A lot of people have died on this site in horiffic circumstances. That's why it would be so offensive to build a shopping mall on the site, and of course, what self respecting ghost would want to spend eternity haunting a tacky shopping centre.
Halloween spirits protest against Coppergate
18th October 2003 - Sightsonic Festival
A lot of people are asking, "What's the mauve coloured light on Clifford's Tower and weird noises and flashing lights?" Well, it's a "happening" man! Whoo! Going back to the 60s and all that. Apparently all part of Sightsonic - York's International Festival of Digital Art. Big it up.
Sightsonic  York international festival  of digital art
4th October 2003 - Council backsliding on Coppergate already?
Only a week after new consultations were announced by the City of York Council on the fate of the area surrounding Clifford's Tower, there is already concern that the Council might not keep its word. There have been suggestions that any attempt to convert the car park to a green and open space might be disallowed from the options discussed. This shows, again, a lack of democracy at the heart of the City of York Council. The Castle Area Campaign, along with other groups, will work to ensure that a free and open discussion is held. To disallow the option for a park or open space is like Henry Ford saying, "You can have any colour you like as long as it is black."

28th September 2003 - L'shanah tovah.
We wish a Happy New Year to all our Jewish supporters. In fact we hope it will be a good new year for all of us and that the plans to build a shopping mall on the site of the 1190 massacre of York's Jewish population are now totally defeated.

24th Sept 2003 - Victory Parade in York.
Members and supporters of the Castle Area Campaign marched in triumph from York Mansion House to the Barbican Centre with banners, posters, the flag of Normandy and a large model of Clifford's Tower. At the Barbican Centre a large exhibition was erected and celebrations continued with bottles of faux Champagne.

Triumph march
The "Without Walls" conference on the future of York started a 6pm and then it got interesting. Castle Area Campaign spokesperson, Gordon Campbell-Thomas, asked the panel what would be the Council's attitude to development on the Castle area now that Coppergate II was defeated.

Council Leader, Steve Galloway, astonished and delighted the audience by saying that the time had come to take stock. Full and frank consultations would have to take place before a new scheme could be considered and intimated that Coppergate II was not only dead, but safely buried. A day which began with us celebrating victory has been crowned by confirmation that the Council now concedes the fight is over for Coppergate II.

23rd Sept 2003 - Another development on Piccadilly planned.
Northminster Properties has submitted a plan for 14 flats on the former Polar Motors site on the Piccadilly side of the River Foss. The flats were originally part of the Castle Quarter plan, put forward as an alternative to Land Securities' Coppergate II scheme. Andrew Eccles said, "Coppergate II is dead and does not have a future. We believe our plan could be a stepping stone for the regeneration of the rest of the area."

23rd Sept 2003 - Greens sod up car park.
York's Green Party started the foundations for a green and open space by laying turf on one of the parking spaces of the Castle Car Park today.

Councillor Andy D'Agorne said, "Now that the Coppergate scheme has been so resoundingly rejected, the Without Walls process must recognise the broad public support for the area between Clifford's Tower and the Foss to be turned into a public park, with replacement parking on the Piccadilly side of the river."

York Green Party Councillors

18th September 2003 - Promising new castle garden precinct idea unveiled
Centred on Clifford's Tower, it would see the Castle Car Park grassed over, with the foundations of the Victorian prison walls beneath exposed, as has been done with the remains of St Mary's Abbey in Museum Gardens. There would be a quiet garden of remembrance at the north end of the female prison, where archaeologists have discovered the remains of two burial grounds, and a covered area for events, exhibitions and displays erected beside the River Foss. The proposal has been drawn up by building conservationist Alison Sinclair in consultation with archaeologists, environmental campaigners and members of York Tomorrow.

12th September 2003 - Council to launch internal inquiry
The Planning deparment of City of York Council is to launch an inquiry into why planners backed the plans, given that in the end they turned out to be a bad idea after all. The Castle Area Campaign would be glad to submit evidence to this inquiry also, but more realistically we anticipate a repeat of the previous less-than-incisive, blame-free internal inquiry into the notorious 'losing' of the Conservation Architect's report.

10th September 2003 - Minister throws out Coppergate plans!
Land Securities has been routed; the planning department humiliated.
Having been set in for a long wait, the decision came untrumpeted with the post this morning. Groups such as York's Local Agenda 21, York Tomorrow, and the Council were informed that the Housing and Planning Minister, Keith Hill, agreed with inspector Bingham that the plans were an overdevelopment of the site. According to the Evening Press, he said that the development failed to acknowledge the sensitivity of the area. Members of the Castle Area Campaign were seen in various parts of town drinking champagne and cheering. It is a time for great celebration.
It's all over! ...for now. Our celebrations must be tempered with the news that Land Securities do not intend to drop their plans to develop the Castle Area. The question now is, will they finally listen to something other than the future sounds of cash registers, or will they require a third beating? Keep watching this site. A full roundup of responses and details of the government's statement will be on this site soon.

22nd August 2003 - Two more City of York Council Planners quit
The City of York Council must be running on empty by now as another two staff desert the sinking ship that has become its Planning Department. Alasdair Morrison who was Head of Development and Regeneration has left, as has Janine Riley. Janine is a heroine of the Castle Area Campaign because, as York's Conservation Architect, she wrote a report critical of the proposed Coppergate II development. Her bosses hid the report and did not allow elected Councillors to see it before the fateful day the Planning Committee voted in favour of the shoddy Coppergate scheme. The report was later unearthed following an investigation. Click here to read Janine Riley's report criticising Land Securities' scheme.

12th August 2003 - Delay over Public Inquiry decision on Coppergate
City of York Council staff confirmed that there is no sign of a decision from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister on Coppergate II. It is likely that the verdict will be delayed until September, possibly longer. My bet is on longer.

29th July 2003 - CABE Space launched by Tony McNulty MP
The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment aims to support over 60 local authorities to develop a strategic approach to improving the management of parks and urban spaces. The scheme was officially launched by Regeneration Minister, Tony McNulty, the very same Minister who will deliver the verdict on Coppergate II. Surely Tony McNulty ought to look favourably on our desires for public open space at Clifford's Tower, rather than more shops. So, is York one of the 60 local authorities who have asked CABE Space for help with its open space strategy? No, it is not. Tragically York's useless planners missed the opportunity.

8th July 2003 - International petition handed in.
A petition of comments from all around the world was handed over to the City of York Council in protest at the plans to build Coppergate II next to Clifford's Tower. You can see and sign the petition yourself by clicking
York Guildhall
23rd June 2003 - Taj Mahal saved from mall.
The Indian Government has responded to public protest at developers' plans to build a shopping mall near the Taj Mahal. Seems eerily reminiscent of our own problems with greedy developers here in York, England. Three cheers for the Indian Government. Let's hope the British Government can also see the value of its nation's heritage at Clifford's Tower.
Taj Mahal saved
4th June 2003 - ...or July... and it will not be John Prescott after all.
Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott will not make the big decision on York's Coppergate II fiasco on the grounds that York is too close to his Hull constituency. Would big John have been too sympathetic? Who knows. The indication is now that the decision will be announced by Planning Minister Tony McNulty MP.

24th May 2003 - Results of Coppergate Public Inquiry expected in June
Well it drifts on, but the latest news is that John Prescott, Secretary of State, will announce his decision and the result of the Public Inquiry toward the end of June.

10th May 2003 - Election changes - good and bad.
York now has a Council run by Liberal-Democrats. In theory this is bad as the party has been pro-Coppergate. However a new Council and new Leader may bring surprises. Let's see how we can get a better deal for York and our visitors with regard to the historic area surrounding Clifford's Tower. Some bad news was that the anti-Coppergate Conservatives lost their seats. However particularly good news is that anti-Coppergate Greens took two seats. Some other anti-Coppergate councillors such as Janet Hopton (Independent) and David Wilde and Brian Watson (Labour) retained their seats.

12th April 2003 - The elections are due on 1st May. Use your vote!
Click to see all the anti-Coppergate candidates standing in the local Council elections on 1st May. You can vote for the people who will stop Coppergate and get rid of those who would sell our city's treasures to developers in London. Vote for York.

23rd April 2003 - Clifford's Tower to be sold by public auction
Ah, but fear not! 'Tis merely an amusing pretence by York Green Party which strongly opposes Shoppergate. The Greens' election pledge is that the party "will refuse to sell Council land for the controversial Coppergate II development." Well said. The Greens' public auction takes place at 11am on Weds 23rd April at Clifford's Tower - where else?

8th April 2003 - York Council again tries to obstruct democratic process
The extent of the City of York Council's capabilities to inform citizens of the candidates in the forthcoming elections is to nail a list to the door of the Guildhall. This might have been acceptible in Martin Luther's day but it looks decidedly pathetic and obstructive to the democratic process in the modern age. Despite numerous email requests, York Council has failed to provide a list of candidates' names and addresses. There can be no reason for withholding this information other than to waste time and try to make it difficult for citizens to contact the candidates personally before the elections. Who's interests are being served?

2nd April 2003 - Results of Coppergate Public Inquiry expected in May
It was never going to be announced before the elections on May 1st was it? We now know that John Prescott will deliver the verdict of the Public Inquiry into Coppergate II around the mid to end of May. In the meantime we have the opportunity to unseat those Councillors who sold York down the river. Vote for York on May 1st.

16th March 2003 - Anniversary of massacre
The anniversary of the darkest hour in York's history, the killing in 1190 of 150 Jewish people at Clifford's Tower. York's population of Jews took refuge inside the then wooden tower from a rampaging mob. Seeing no possibility of escape many of the unfortunate Jews chose to die by their own hand while those who surrendered were slaughtered.

Is it any place to build a shopping mall, on the ground where this massacre took place?

Flowers at Cliffords Tower Jewish memorial
3rd March 2003 - Broadcast on French TV
TV journalists from "France 3 Normandie" visit York to make a news programme on the situation at Clifford's Tower. The plans for a shopping mall mirror the desecration of the Chateau de Falaise in Normandie - the home of William the Conqueror who was responsible for building the original York Castle.
France 3 Normandie in York
23rd February 2003 - York demonstrators gather
Protesters in York demonstrate against the City of York Council and Land Securities' plans to build an unsustainable shopping mall next to the scheduled ancient monument of Cliford's Tower. "We will not let York Council off the hook" said one irate citizen.
Demonstration against Coppergate II
31st January 2003 - Yorkshire celebrities speak.
Well-known figures from the arts, media, politics and sport have entered the fray in the battle against the Coppergate shopping mall in York. Household names such as Freddie Truman, Janet Street-Porter, A.S. Byatt, Tony Benn, Lord Healey and Sir Bernard Ingham (pictured) have spoken out against the development. Click to see the comments.
Yorkshire celebrities
14th January 2003 - Inquiry Anniversary
One year on from the start of the public inquiry into the proposed Coppergate II development, campaigners are calling for "justice to be done" for York and its heritage.
"Justice Clifford Stour" and other campaign members are hoping the inquiry result will throw out the application to build a shopping mall on the land surrounding the ancient monument of Clifford's Tower.
Mr Justice Clifford Stour
1st January 2003 - York Tomorrow now online
York Tomorrow has now got its own website which details the evidence intended for the Appeal against the refusal by York Council of a public park at Clifford's Tower. Outrageously, York Tomorrow was never able to submit the evidence to the Planning Inspector due to intimidation and threats of financial ruin by the City of York Council's barrister. Now at least their evidence is in the public domain. NB: Site dismantled in 2005.


Click here to see earlier news from 2002.

And earlier news from 2001.

And even earlier news from 1998 to 2000.