THERE was never much enthusiasm for English Heritage’s proposals to build a visitor centre at the foot of Clifford’s Tower. When York people belatedly woke up to the proposals after the city council had already approved the plans many were hostile, if not outraged.

Yet English Heritage pushed on with the proposals in the teeth of public anger. That did its reputation as a preserver of our heritage no favours. And it was a shame. Because the organisation’s plans to make more of Clifford’s Tower itself - including by adding a roof - were by and large welcomed.

English Heritage could say - quite truthfully, we believe - that the base of the castle mound was quite new, and that therefore no archaeology would be damaged by its visitor centre. That, however, missed the point. What people objected to was the visual impact of an ugly new block on a part of York that is loved to the point of being iconic.

Independent councillor Johnny Hayes was so angry that he spent a good deal of his own money on a legal challenge. Having had his case rejected by the High Court, he announced he was taking it to the Court of Appeal. That hearing had yet to take place.

It will no longer be needed, thankfully, now English Heritage has formally abandoned the proposals. But that takes nothing away from Cllr Hayes’ determination to do what he felt was right. He showed more judgement about what was appropriate for this most sensitive site than English Heritage ever did.

We’re glad the organisation has changed its mind. But it should never have put forward this ugly proposal in the first place.