Revealed: Third design for big Micklegate hotel – and this one’s set for approval

9 Sep 2020 @ 12.34 pm
| Changing city

Developers who want to build a new hotel in Micklegate have come up with a third design, after the previous two were heavily criticised. 

North Star Investment Management wants to redevelop 105-111 Micklegate, between Priory Street and Micklegate Bar, including demolishing the Minster Self Drive garage and the Jinnah restaurant. 

These images show the new proposals for an aparthotel and bar/restaurant.

The plan remains controversial, with Historic England and York Civic Trust saying the changes do not go far enough, but City of York Council officials have said it should go ahead – and say the car-free nature of the development will help it reach its climate change targets.

Councillors will make a decision at a planning meeting next week.

North Star’s first plan, in spring 2019, was for a 146-bedroom hotel but that design was criticised as too high, inappropriate and insensitive and there were fears about the impact of basements on the archaeology of the 1,000-year-old Holy Trinity Priory site.  

The company abandoned that plan last Christmas and submitted plans for a “modern medieval” building, with 65 rooms instead of 146 and no basement. That design has also proved unpopular with conservation groups, and a third design was drawn up during lockdown. 

Rooms reduced

Another view

Under the new plan, there would be two gable-fronted sections facing Micklegate instead of three, with a lower section nearer to the Micklegate 127 pub next door.

The number of bedrooms has been reduced again, to 62. 

Conservation groups said the changes are progress, but called for more change, but a report to next week’s meeting says the plan should be approved. 

Planning officer Tim Goodall acknowledged that the plan was “contentious” but said the planned use was acceptable in principle in the city centre.

He wrote: “The proposal is acknowledged to be in highly sensitive location with a number of designated heritage assets, including the city walls, Micklegate Bar in close proximity and also being within the conservation area.

“The proposal, while larger than the existing buildings, is considered to preserve the character and appearance of the conservation area and the setting of the listed buildings and scheduled monuments.

“Furthermore, the proposed replacement will provide a sustainable car free development and meet the council’s ambitious climate change targets.”

The previous designs

What they say

North Star: “The proposals seek to significantly enhance this particular part of the street, where the current buildings are outdated and contain relatively inactive uses. The proposals, ranging from 1 to 3.5 storeys, have taken a contemporary design approach inspired by medieval building forms, and will enhance a significant gateway into the city centre from the south.” 

York Civic Trust: “This is a further step in the right direction. But given the sensitivity of the site in terms of heritage assets, including the location to the Scheduled Monuments of Micklegate Bar and the City Walls, the proposed scheme requires further revision. Consequently, the Trust feels compelled to object to the scheme in its current, revised form but can foresee a further, revised scheme that is acceptable.” 

The trust says the proposed frontage is “too busy” and also says different materials should be used to improve the building’s appearance. It says the view coming up Micklegate is a concern, with the building “appearing to rival the importance of Micklegate Bar”. The trust says the overall plan still falls short of what is needed in “one of the most well-known and valued historic thoroughfares in York”. 

Historic England: “The scale of the proposed new building has been slightly reduced, however in our view it is still too large for Micklegate.” 

Historic England welcomed the reduction in height but says the development will be highly visible from the Bar Walls and Micklegate Bar, so the visual impact will detract from the “diverse and mixed character of the historic streetscape of Micklegate”. 

The planning documents and responses from other organisations can be seen here, on the City of York Council planning website. The council hopes to make a decision this month.