COUNCIL officers have launched an investigation over claims that a huge new aparthotel in York is higher than allowed under planning permission.

An independent survey of the Roomz building in Terry Avenue, conducted on behalf of City of York Council, concluded the roof ridge was 700mms - almost 3ft - higher than permitted, although the developers behind the scheme have insisted it complies fully with consent.

The authority has ordered further surveys now that scaffolding has been removed to get a clearer picture before deciding what, if any, enforcement action should be taken.

The probe was launched following a complaint by former councillor Johnny Hayes, who noticed that the building appeared to be higher than one shown in an artist's impression submitted to council planners.

Mr Hayes claimed in March that the aparthotel was looming over Lower Ebor Street in Clementhorpe like an iconic photograph of a shipping liner being built in the past at a shipyard.

Mike Slater, the council’s assistant planning director, said that following a complaint about the height of the building, the authority had had it surveyed by an independent firm.

“This identified an increase in height beyond that approved by the planning committee,” he said.

“Our investigation continues as we are now able to survey other parts of the building now that scaffolding has been lowered.

“Once this work is complete, we can then fully understand the discrepancies and determine what action may be required.”

A council official told Mr Hayes in an email that the independent survey had identified an increase in ridge height of 700mm beyond that approved.

He also said that normally where artists' impressions were presented to members of the planning committee as part of an application, it was stressed that they were exactly that – "impressions and as such should be treated with caution".

He said: “This is usually advised by officers when a development is presented at committee. A development proposal is always granted planning permission subject to the approved set of plans including elevations.”

A spokesman for Broadleys, the developers behind the Roomz scheme, said managing director Ian Campbell "would like to confirm that the new building at Terry Avenue is in full compliance with all planning conditions and approved planning drawings". He added: “The only comment that we are to make on this is that we can confirm that the hotel is constructed in accordance with the extant planning approvals.”

Asked about the apparent difference between the artist’s impression and the aparthotel which has been built, he added: "The artist’s impression was produced to highlight the comparison of the already approved office scheme for the same site. That concludes matters on our side.”

Mr Hayes said the wrangle raised important issues over artists' impressions and CGIs submitted with planning applications, and also over what a council should do if there has been a breach of permission for a development.