ENGLISH Heritage bosses reported overwhelming support for the planned £2 million Clifford's Tower Visitor Centre at yesterday's public consultation.

Visitors had their say on the scheme, which includes a viewing platform at the base of the mound, during an exhibition at the National Centre for Early Music in Walmgate.

And while English Heritage head property curator Dr Jeremy Ashbee insisted nothing in the plans was set in stone, he was encouraged by how they had been received.

"There has been a steady flow of people throughout the day," he said. "People have been really interested in trying to find out more about the proposals than we had already been able to tell them.

"I have been encouraged by the fact that some people really do like it and have been quite supportive.

"There were others who were quite worried beforehand, but say that they have now understood what we are trying to do."

He added: "A lot of people have come along to say 'I don't like this bit or that bit', but overwhelmingly people have been supportive."

All visitors were encouraged to fill in feedback cards and these views will be passed on to City of York Council when the scheme goes for planning permission.

Among the visitors at the exhibition was Rosemary Suttill, chairman of the Yorkshire Archaeological and York Architectural Society, who said: "I think it's excellent that this is being planned because it has been a bone of contention in the city for many, many years.

"I really don't get the sense that this is cut and dried.

"I'm hoping that there will be a lot of people participating. It's certainly a matter of considerable local interest, especially with York depending on the tourist industry.

"I'm really delighted that something is happening."

Improving visitor access to the 13th century tower has been on the agenda since Dr Ashbee joined English Heritage in 2003.

But he said: "We started up in earnest two years ago and it was really last January that we got going with the designs."

There had been plenty of discussion about building materials and four options were proposed for the base of the mound.

Dr Ashbee said: "It's not finalised, it's not set in stone at all.

"We want to show it to people and find out whether they like it, whether it's a good idea and whether it can be just a bit better."

Having considered the feedback, English Heritage hopes to go for planning permission in late February.

"With a fair wind, we would like to start later this summer and have it ready for next summer," said Dr Ashbee.