PLANS for the huge Roman Quarter development in York city centre are set to be decided at a planning meeting tomorrow, Wednesday.

The proposals – drawn up in partnership between York Archaeological Trust, Rougier Street Developments and developer North Star – would see three buildings on Rougier Street demolished to make way for a 10-storey apartment block, offices, shops and a Roman visitor attraction.

The scheme has been revised twice since it was submitted to City of York Council.

Developers say it is set to create more than 600 jobs, bring in £334 million over 30 years and half a million visitors to the Roman centre a year.

York Civic Trust, which had previously objected to the proposals on the grounds that the building was too big and could increase poor air quality by creating a “canyon effect”, says it has withdrawn its objection.

But a spokesman for the Trust still says the development “will be extraordinarily large by York standards” and calls for the site to be treated as an exception.

They say the plans are pitched as an opportunity to replace Northern House, a building considered ugly, adding: “The Trust is concerned that the identification of 'detractor' buildings should not become a hostage to fortune for future development, especially of larger buildings than are currently situated in York's Central Historic Core Conservation Area.”

The plans were first submitted in December 2019 and since then the council has received 78 letters in support and 49 in objection – with the most recent comments registered as recently as Monday.

Developers say the plans will help regenerate the area, bring jobs and boost the economy.

David Jennings, chief executive of York Archaeological Trust, said: “This is a pivotal time for York as we seek to bounce back from the pandemic, so this development could not be better timed.

“We know that York is one of the heritage hotspots in the country, with people visiting from around the world to explore our history, and we are confident that this new attraction will be a magnet for visitors, in the same way that JORVIK Viking Centre has drawn crowds for over 36 years.

“Now is the time to explore what happened when the Ninth Legion's standards were planted in a place that became a city - our city - and discover what the Romans did for York, and look forward to what they will do again.”  

View the application at reference 19/02672/FULM.