CAMPAIGNERS who are fighting plans to build a visitor centre into the side of the Clifford’s Tower motte are now hoping to be granted permission to appeal a legal ruling.

Cllr Jonny Hayes is leading a legal fight against English Heritage’s plans for the historic tower, and against City of York Council’s decision to give planning permission.

A legal ruling made in June went against Cllr Hayes, but he has now confirmed the court battle is still ongoing.

Cllr Hayes said: “I have applied for leave to appeal against the verdict to the Royal Courts of Justice. My legal team are confident that we will be given leave to appeal and that we have a strong case.

“The papers have gone to the appeal court and we are waiting to hear if the case will be referred to the courts. City of York Council have been served with the papers and they have issued their papers in response.”

No building work has been seen on the site since the June ruling, and now Cllr Hayes has said nothing will be possible until the courts have decided whether he is allowed to appeal.

“If the appeal judge decides to give permission for this to go forward then it may be several months until the case is heard.”

English Heritage were given planning permission for the new visitor centre - as well as new viewing platforms and stairs inside the tower - in November last year.

At the time, English Heritage said they hoped to begin work within a few weeks but more than 1,500 people signed a petition against it within days, and the judicial review bid was then launched.

Cllr Hayes launched the appeal on the grounds City of York Council’s planning process in the case had been “seriously flawed” and should be reviewed. During the planning court hearing in Leeds in May, high court judge Mr Justice Kerr heard arguments about the “archaeological treasure trove” under the area including the tower and the effect the visitor centre would have on the Eye of York and the Grade I listed buildings around it.

His ruling, delivered a month later, set a new legal precedent, Cllr Hayes said, and his legal team strongly believed the verdict should be challenged. A crowdfunding appeal set up to raise funds for the legal battle has attracted more than £15,000 in pledges, and Cllr Hayes said they would reopen it if the appeal goes ahead.