A huge regeneration project for the city centre, dubbed the Roman Quarter, is set to get the go ahead at a planning meeting.
The scheme would see a Roman visitor attraction, plus a ten-storey development of 211 apartments, offices and retail space, built in Rougier Street.
A two-year archaeological dig on site will precede building work. Experts believe this could unearth discoveries of national importance.
City of York Council planning officers say the project should be approved – and if it gets the go ahead the developer says preparatory work on the archaeological dig could start this year.
The Roman Quarter development is expected to bring nearly 500 new full time jobs to the city by 2029.
According to the developers, the Eboracum visitor attraction could attract half a million visitors a year and bring in an extra £21 million spend to the city’s economy.
Horrible Histories man in favour
The plans have been submitted by a partnership between York Archaeological Trust, which runs the Jorvik Viking Centre, Rougier Street Developments and North Star.
The plans have attracted 69 letters of support, including from bestselling author of the Horrible Histories books Terry Deary as well as archaeologists, business leaders and bosses at some of York’s top attractions including the National Railway Museum and York Racecourse.
But 36 letter objecting to the plans have also been submitted – many with concerns about the height of the development, which has been revised to reduce the size and impact.
The British Council of Archaeology has objected to the plans, warning that there may be “extensive and complex” remains at the site and that the development may damage them.
Historic England have also raised concerns about the dig, as well as the impact of the size of the new buildings on nearby landmarks.
But planning officers conclude: “The harm resulting from the scheme is considered to [be] substantial however substantial economic, social and environmental benefits have been identified.
“These benefits relate to the significant economic benefits of the visitor attraction, public engagement and educational benefits of the archaeological dig, provision of housing, modern energy efficient building and public realm enhancements.”
The meeting is on Wednesday at 4.30pm.
Planning officers say the developer should be required to make cash contributions to the city’s education service, nearby sports facilities, parks and off-site road maintenance work under section 106 agreements if permission is granted.