York city walls could be lit up in different colours at night

The city walls at night. Photograph © Allan Harris on Flickr
17 Jan 2020 @ 6.55 pm
| Environment

We could soon see the city walls in a whole new light.

Plans to upgrade the ancient fortifications include replacing the old floodlights with a new LED lighting system.

And that opens a new world of colourful possibilities.


A report to councillors states:

  • A plan has been developed to upgrade the existing Bar Walls floodlighting system to a sustainable and sympathetic, LED colour changing system.

    The proposed floodlighting system is bespoke and will be designed to complement to architectural and historic significances of the walls.

    The colour-changing nature of the system means that the Bar Walls could be lit in particular colours to celebrate or commemorate historic events or important days.

Investing millions

Under investigation – the walls from Station Rise to Lendal Bridge. Photograph: Joe Park
Under its budget plans, City of York Council intends to invest £1.464 million over the next four years in a bar walls restoration programme.

Among the other aims of the scheme are to:

  • restore the system of locks on the city walls
  • trial systems of pest management in the bars
  • restore the historic decorative schemes of the armorials and
    heraldry at the bars
  • and update the signage along the walls.


A second part of the restoration programme – put at £1.7 million over four years “would fund investigation works to understand the deterioration of stonework at Station Avenue Arch (road arch eastbound) and to develop and deliver a programme of repairs and restoration”.

This stretch of walls was closed earlier this month to investigate an area where the 1960s cladding is flaking away.

The council report says:

  • There is potential for the steelwork built within the arch to be corroding, causing an unsafe structure.

This plan is part of a financial strategy which is due to go before the council executive on 13 February.