Architecture firm Hugh Broughton Architects has been granted planning permission for contentious designs to revamp the keep of York Castle.
Last week York councillors voted in favour of the proposals by an 11 to three majority. This was despite a petition against the project which attracted more than 2,000 signatures (Stop English Heritage Making Clifford’s Tower Look Like Disneyland!).
Hugh Broughton Architects is working with conservation specialists Martin Ashley Architects on the scheme. It landed the project after a competition in January last year.
The scheme, backed by English Heritage, is striving to improve visitor facilities inside the ruined keep.
A timber structure will be installed to partially cover the ruin. The company will also provide a viewing platform at roof level.
The new additions will rest on pad foundations designed to spread the loads without impacting on the archaeology of the tower.
A new single-storey visitor centre at ground level will also feature an orientation area, staff offices and facilities. A substantial section of the tower’s wall, buried since 1935, will be uncovered as part of the project.
Clifford’s Tower is the biggest surviving structure from the medieval royal castle of York. The castle was was an important seat of government of the North of England in the Middle Ages.
It was constructed atop a tall earthen mound in the mid-13th Century. It was ruined by fire in 1684 and has stood roofless since. The castle mound is thought to have been raised during the reign of William the Conqueror.
Jeremy Ashbee, head curator of properties at English Heritage, commented: “This project will reveal more of Clifford’s Tower than ever before and allow us to finally do justice to its remarkable history.
“An enormous amount of care was taken in preparing the planning application, in consultation with planners, designers and members of the public. We are thrilled to have permission to go ahead with this project.”