CONSERVATIONISTS have called for plans which would see three new homes built in the shadow of York’s city walls to be blocked.

The scheme, due to be debated by City of York Council’s area planning sub-committee on Thursday, would see a two-storey building housing one flat and parking space for bikes and cars built on the empty Monk Bar Garage site on Lord Mayor’s Walk, with two more homes in a separate building.

Planning officials have said the proposals should be approved because it would improve the appearance of the area, but York Civic Trust is maintaining its objection to the scheme after saying it would harm the Bar Walls.

In a letter to council planners, the trust’s director Peter Brown said it would prefer to see no development at all in the moat surrounding the walls, saying: “However, the garage is there and we must accept some redevelopment is acceptable, but not this proposal.

“This application constitutes an overdevelopment of the site, and because of its height and massing, it would have a detrimental impact on the setting of the city walls.”

English Heritage initially said the proposals were “bold and innovative” for a “sensitive location”, but felt the design of the homes needed to be altered to make it more “acceptable”. It has since told the council that it believes these issues have now been addressed.

Guildhall councillor Brian Watson called in the application to be discussed by a planning committee because of its potential impact on the area. In a report, development management officer Jonathan Kenyon said council design and conservation teams felt the current garage buildings affected views of the Bar Walls and the Minster, and the housing scheme would be an improvement.

The report said: “The proposed houses are of the type identified as being in most need in the city and will regenerate a vacant site which detracts from the conservation area.”