Campaigners fighting the new visitor centre at Clifford’s Tower are calling on English Heritage to abandon its plans and sign up to an alternative vision for the area.

They say the charity should scrap its proposal to build the centre into the mound at the foot of the tower.

Instead they should work with City of York Council on the new vision for the Castle Gateway site unveiled last month.

Confident of legal win

The Eye of York. Photograph: Richard McDougall

Led by independent councillor Johnny Hayes, campaigners have already won the right to a judicial review hearing into the council’s decision to award planning permission for the visitor centre.

That hearing will take place at Leeds Crown Court on May 3, it has now been revealed.

Their QC Anthony Crean and solicitor Amanda Beresford are confident of winning the review and halting the construction.

Now campaigners are looking to the future – and are organising a public meeting to discuss the potential future of this architecturally and historically rich part of York.

That will take place on Friday, March 10 at 1pm at the Eye of York.

Speakers already lined up are Lord Mayor of York Dave Taylor, York Central MP Rachael Maskell, former York Art Gallery curator Richard Green, Cllr Hayes and QC Anthony Crean.

Direct appeal

This sketch produced for City of York Council shows how it could all work

The new vision for the Castle Gateway unveiled by the council includes moving Castle car park, creating a new public space, and building along the banks of the River Foss.

Cllr Hayes said:

We want to appeal directly to English Heritage to reconsider their proposals and look to the bigger picture that this new report offers to this wonderful area.

There are huge opportunities to be had now that the Castle Car Park is planned to be remodelled.

A visitor centre built into the mound seems to run counter to these plans. A much better visitor centre could now be built nearby.

A panorama of the Castle car park and the Eye of York

Buoyed by the confidence of his legal team, Cllr Hayes said they needed to look beyond the judicial review “and consider what should happen next.

“We hope that this public meeting will raise the issues that need to be considered and be a catalyst for discussions around the future of this area.”

The legal fees for the judicial review are being crowd-funded. Already £12,000 has been raised by up to £56,000 may be needed. You can donate on the Crowd Justice page here.