THE next stage of City of York Council’s housebuilding scheme, as well as a city-centre redevelopment project, are expected to be approved next week.

A planning application to replace 15 garages in Dringhouses with eight new homes, and another application for public toilets and a shop in the Bar Walls in Exhibition Square, are both due before a planning committee next Thursday, and officials have recommended that both the applications are approved.

The toilets, off the corner of Exhibition Square and Petergate, have been demolished, and the contractors Healthmatic now want formal permission to put a new u- shaped building with seven toilets and a retail unit in its place.

The planned building uses space taken up by the recently-demolished building, and would see an arch in the wall onto High Petergate unblocked and a window inserted.

The proposal has the support of English Heritage, and the organisation’s Keith Emerick has written to the council planners to say that by uncovering and bringing to light a previously unseen portion of the walls’ Roman foundations the work will improve the area and boost its significance, but the plans have been called before the committee by Guildhall ward councillor Brian Watson who wants to see the impact on listed buildings and the retail unit assessed.

Two housing applications are also due before the same meeting of the committee – one at the former Bert Keech bowling club and another on the site of garages in Dringhouses.

Planning staff have recommended the five homes on the Bert Keech site – which has lain empty since 2008 – is approved, despite objections from neighbouring St Olave’s School, and the sports and active leisure department which does not want to see the open space lost.

And in Dringhouses, the eight new two-bedroomed council homes on the site of 15 current garages, have been recommended for approval.

The homes, which would all be for social rent, could become part of the council housing department’s downsizing project, to help people over 55 move into smaller properties and free up larger family homes.