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‘Your contribution could help safeguard a much loved monument as it stands and provide a more optimistic plan for the future.’

The words of a crowdfunding campaign, launched on Tuesday (December 20) to support the fight against the new visitor centre at Clifford’s Tower.

To make a donation visit the CrowdJustice funding page

It follows last week’s dramatic intervention by independent councillor Johnny Hayes, when he told the full City of York Council meeting that he was launching a legal challenge to the development.

The council’s decision to grant English Heritage planning permission for the visitor centre could now be taken to the High Court for a judicial review.

Costly business

Councillor Hayes at a protest outside Clifford’s Tower

Cllr Hayes has already put up half his teacher’s pension to pay for the early legal costs. Now he and his wife Frankie have launched a crowdfunding campaign to cover further fees.

They hope to raise £7,800 within 30 days.

The costs are broken down as follows:

Stage 1 – £7,800 to fund the “Permission Stage” where a judge considers the papers and decides whether it should go forward. The council could quash the original planning permission at this stage. If not it goes to

Stage 2 – £7,800 to prepare papers for the High Court hearings. Again the council could quash the decision. If not it’s time for

Stage 3 – £35,000 for the full High Court hearing.

‘Offensively commercial’

An artist’s impression of the visitor centre

English Heritage have won permission to build a concrete and glass building incorporating a souvenir shop, coffee bar and viewing area. This will be embedded into the base of the mound on which the castle sits.

The crowdfunding campaign states:

Thousands of York residents, and people from around Britain and the world object to these plans and believe that this is a huge mistake.

It is felt that it would be an offensively commercial addition to this much loved landmark.

Early backers echoed this sentiment.

This idea is a disgrace – NOTHING should be built into the mound as it totally ruins the historic image. In addition it looks like a row of badly designed public toilets.

– Margaret

I hope that this will encourage York City Council and English Heritage to rethink this appalling scheme.

– Sue

York is not Disney Land and this proposal is beyond belief. Cliffords Tower is an iconic site as is the present view seen by millions over the years.

– Nicholas