THE York councillor who fought a successful rearguard action against plans for a visitor centre below Clifford’s Tower has abandoned his High Court battle.

The decision leaves Independent Johnny Hayes about £41,000 out of pocket over his legal challenge to the controversial scheme, which was scrapped last month by English Heritage before the case could get to an appeal hearing.

Cllr Hayes applied for judicial review in 2016 after councillors gave planning permission for the building. His total legal bill has reached £60,000, with about £19,000 of this met through crowdfunding by supporters.

His appeal against a High Court judge’s decision last summer to reject his legal challenge, which was due to be heard at the Court of Appeal on July 23, might have provided an opportunity for him to seek costs had he won.

But he told City of York Council’s executive tonight that he had now withdrawn his application to the court, as it could not be pursued following English Heritage’s decision.

He told The Press afterwards that he had been advised by his lawyer that the judges would not entertain an ‘academic’ case on a proposal which had been abandoned, merely so he could pursue costs.

He said he was ‘philosophical’ at his financial loss but appealed to residents, and also archaeological and historical groups who had supported his aims, to consider donating to his fundraising campaign, at