A CONSERVATION chief has welcomed the “exciting and innovative” designs which architects have drawn up for a redevelopment of the riverside alongside York’s Guildhall.

Peter Brown, director of York Civic Trust, said the organisation was not automatically against modern buildings being situated next to historic properties He said: “It’s important to keep an open mind.

“What matters is whether they would be ‘good neighbours.’ They must be respectful of the character of the environment in which they are being placed.”

His comments came after The Press yesterday published images showing the five shortlisted entries from 36 designs submitted to a competition to explore potential future uses for the area, following City of York Council’s departure to a new HQ next year.

One of the designs features a modernistic building on stilts with a steeply pitched roof.

The designs will go on display in the Marriott Room at the York Explore library learning centre between Sunday and Tuesday during normal opening hours, and Mr Brown urged people to go along and give their views.

“It will be very interesting to see what the public think.”

He said: “There were some very innovative and exciting schemes amongst the 36 entries.”

Philip Thake, chief executive of York Conservation Trust, said: “My initial response is that none of them shout at me ‘It’s fantastic’, other than the one that looks a bit like a piazza.

“What York misses is a waterfront promenade between Lendal and Ouse bridges. If you go to any other city, that is what you would get.” Press readers commenting online yesterday were generally negative.

One person commented: “You have got to be joking. This is November not April 1.”

Another said: “It has to be sympathetic to the history of the site and not a ‘vision’ which will look outmoded in ten years.”

The winner, which will be chosen by a judging panel on December 4, will guide how the area is eventually developed, although the authority will still have to go through a procurement process for the eventual design and build.