Designs for a new creative centre including an auditorium at York St John University have been changed significantly following a public consultation.

A planning application has now been submitted for the new three storey teaching block on the site off Lord Mayor’s Walk.

The original plans included a 200-seat auditorium with views of the Minster.

How the design used to look. Image: Tate Harmer
But the application says some residents had concerns about the appearance.

It says: “Some did not like the design, and felt it might block views of the Minster from their home.

“The general view was that the need for the proposal was understood and that the design was of a high quality and truly innovative, and would bring much needed economic and cultural benefits to the area, whilst improving the quality of lives of the immediate neighbours.

“The final design is a product of this engagement, which shows that the university has listened to everyone, with the final scheme departing significantly from the designs used at the consultation event.”

Three blocks to go

York St John is the fastest growing university
Under the plans, three 1970s student accommodation blocks at the site will be demolished to make way for a teaching block and 250-seat auditorium, linked by an atrium.

Rob Hickey, executive director of growth and infrastructure, said:

  • Following a consultation process in 2018, we’re pleased to have now submitted the planning application for our new creative centre at York St John University.

    Response to the consultation was overwhelmingly positive and our architects have considered the building’s functionality, sustainability and use by students, staff and the local community to refine initial designs and produce final drawings as part of the planning application.

Documents say York St John is the fastest-growing university in the country and that student numbers have increased by 25 per cent since 2017 to more than 2,050.

By 2020, the university expects to be home to 8,000 students.

It also says there has been a rise in demand for creative subjects, meaning there is a need for the auditorium as a rehearsal and teaching space.

A statement from the university says the aim of the development is to help the university’s “ambitious growth” in subjects including art and design, computer science, performance and media production.

Another view of the plans
The plans are ambitious

It adds: “This will be more than just a university facility, it will house events, exhibitions, film, musical and theatrical performances and also be a hub for small business growth in the culture and creative industries.”

The university does not intend to run the auditorium as an income-generating business.

Demolition work will start in the summer and the new 4,000m2 centre is due to be completed in spring 2021.