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Roman Quarter plans submitted

A second round of plans have been submitted for the Rougier Street project.

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Image Credit: Son of Graucho

A redesigned plan has been submitted for the Rougier Street project after the initial proposal was rejected back in February 2021.

The project included a ten-storey building and an underground Roman-themed attraction which would be twice the size of the Jorvik Viking Centre. As well as the building work, a two year archaeological dig is said to be in the pipeline. The dig will be streamed online and will allow every school child in York to take part.

The project is a partnership between Rougier Street Developments, owners of the site, and York Archaeological Trust.

Councillors expressed concerns over the initial proposal, including the height of the building and the shortage of affordable housing. Councillor Andy D’Agorne said: “It proposes a bolder and brasher ugly duckling to replace a less than energy-efficient 1960s building that is there at the moment.” A far cry from the vocabulary normally used to describe the picturesque city.

The newly revised plans have taken these concerns into consideration and now consist of two buildings rather than just one. Developers have promised that both will be lower than surrounding structures to minimise their visual impact.

The proposed main building will remain at the same height as outlined in the original plans, but it will sit lower than its neighbours - the new Malmaison hotel, The Grand Hotel and the Aviva Offices.

The two buildings outlined in the new plan are going to replace the existing Rougier House, Northern House and Society Bar.

Rougier Street Developments, which owns the site alongside the York Archaeological Trust (YAT), said that the redevelopment of the area will be “a major economic boost for York” as it will provide 625 new jobs and £315m over the course of 30 years.

North Star, which is working with the applicant, said that they have worked with City of York Council to “ensure that the new proposals offer as many benefits as possible and address the reasons for refusal."

The development is also set to include an 88-room hotel, 153 apartments and 25,000 sq ft (2,322 sq metres) of space that will be used for offices. The Roman attraction will be called Eboracum, the Roman name for York.

YAT’s chief executive, David Jennings, explained that the Jorvik Centre was not initially approved and took two rounds of applications. He hopes councillors can get behind the new plan.

He noted: “What is also important to recognise is that this is an incredibly rare opportunity: the location, quality of archaeological deposits and partnership of developer and archaeological charity is highly unlikely to be offered to the city again.

“The high cost of undertaking this work means that it needs a special commitment to realise the public value –  with out recourse to the public purse – that, like Jorvik before it, will give back to the community for decades to come."

As of yet a new date has not been set for the council to review the revised plan.

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