Developers have been urged to rethink plans for 80 homes on York City FC’s ground, to acknowledge the history of the site.

York Civic Trust called the existing plans “unimaginative” and a missed opportunity.

They said more should be done to celebrate a space that has been so special to so many people, such as retaining the centre circle as a communal green for the new houses.

Too many old grounds had been lost without any positive reminders in place, the trust says.

York City will leave Bootham Crescent later this year, after 87 years, to move into the new community stadium at Monks Cross.

Famous triumphs

Part of the city’s history. Photograph © Google Street View
The ground has witnessed many of City’s most famous triumphs, including cup successes against Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur.

Local housebuilder, Persimmon, has unveiled its plans for the site, but the Civic Trust has now formally objected.

David Fraser, the trust’s chief executive, called them “unimaginative, poor-quality” proposals but was particularly criticial of the lack of acknowledgement of the site’s current use.

He wrote:

  • Significantly, this development fails to acknowledge the heritage of its setting and the communal significance associated with the current football stadium.

    The potential for this site to be redeveloped whilst maintaining intangible connections with the area’s history has been overlooked, particularly in the proposed layout of properties.

    Too often football grounds have been redeveloped or left derelict without acknowledgement of their significance within living memory; therefore, it is recommended that the opportunity to preserve some of this vulnerable heritage should be taken.

    A landscape layout that is inspired by the current stadium, perhaps in rectangular form , or through the use of the centre circle as a communal green space, for example, would successfully maintain a semblance of historic character.

    Highbury Stadium in London [the former home of Arsenal FC] is a highly successful example of this, in which the pitch was maintained as a public green space for residents, and the site’s significance as a memorial was protected.”

Discussions ‘ongoing’

The design of the Persimmon Homes development at the Bootham Crescent site
Persimmon said earlier this year that it was considering suggestions on how the history of the ground could be represented, but no specific proposals are included in the planning application.

A spokesperson for Persimmon Homes Yorkshire told YorkMix:

  • We appreciate the sensitive nature of this scheme and are aware of the comments made by York Civic Trust.

    Prior to the submission of our planning application extensive pre-application discussions were carried out with City of York Council; this formed the design of the scheme.

    Discussions with the council are ongoing and, along with the comments made by York Civic Trust, all of the comments made to the application will be considered as part of the application process.

The Civic Trust also raised concerns about the impct of traffic from new houses, and potential noise for the new residents, due to the nearby shooting range at Duncombe Barracks.

Dr Fraser also said: “This is an unimaginative, poor-quality residential development that compares unfavourably with a more aesthetically pleasing development nearby on Grosvenor Road.”