NEW public toilets and a shop are on the way for Exhibition Square, despite a row over disabled access.

Councillors on the city council's area planning sub-committee approved the plans for seven unisex toilets, plus a retail unit, in a space attached to the city walls at Bootham Bar.

The old toilets have already been demolished, and work has begun on site after English Heritage already granted Scheduled Ancient Monument consent for the scheme, the committee heard.

The new plans will see half the space become a shop with a glass floor panel opening up a view of the original Roman foundations for the walls.

But before they gave their consent to the scheme in a meeting on Thursday, councillors argued over the number of toilets to be provided - seven in the new facility, down from 13 in the now demolished block - and facilities for disabled people.

The new facility will have one fully wheelchair accessible toilet but the plans show a night toilet which would not be available wheelchair users.

Cllr Fiona Fitzpatrick criticised that aspect of the scheme, and said it was unfair and unequal to expect wheelchair user to go to the Union Terrace public convenience at night instead.

She said: "I will not support any development that offers able bodied people more than disabled people."

Cllr Mark Warters also asked officials how it had been decided that seven cubicles was an adequate provision for the site, which had been one of the most heavily used public conveniences in the city.

Ward councillor Brian Watson also raised concerns about the smaller facilities, and criticised proposals to fit a shop into the space, and install a window through the wall onto Petergate.

He added: "I believe a window there is entirely alien, and I don't believe in doing things like this just to make money."

The committee eventually voted for the proposals, but insisted that a point be added to the plans asking the operators Healthmatic to look at alterations to make the night toilet fully wheelchair accessible.

The development is part of a £650,000 programme to improve public conveniences across York, which has already seen renovations at Union Terrace and Nunnery Lane car parks.