THE Joseph Rowntree Theatre hopes to join York’s ‘cat trail’- the unofficial walking tour of the city to see the many cat sculptures fixed high up on buildings.

A planning application has been lodged for a cat sculpture to be fixed to the front of the Grade II listed building.

If the application is approved, the sculpture will be made by Jonathan Newdick – the York sculptor responsible for many of the other cats in the cat trail.

In an email explaining the planning application Hannah Saxton, the secretary of the Joseph Rowntree Theatre, says the sculpture would be of a ‘long haired cat with a richly textured coat. It will have a polished bronze/silver finish'.

A design and access statement submitted with the planning application says that the cat would be depicted as though it were ‘in mid-spring, climbing the front of the theatre as though having leapt from the flat roof over the entrance.’

It would be fixed high up on the front of the theatre with studs, glued into 90mm holes with epoxy resin.

The design statement accepts that there would be a ‘minor physical impact’, as well as a ‘ relatively minor impact on the aesthetic appreciation of the primary frontage of the theatre’.

But it stresses that any impact on the building would be outweighed by the benefits of having a new, high quality sculpture that could become part of in York’s famous ‘Cat Trail’.

This would ‘raise the profile of the theatre particularly with tourists who otherwise might miss the out of centre location of the theatre,” the design statement says.

“In addition, (there is a) wider public benefit of promoting York through the cat trail as a whole by widening the geographic spread of the trail.”

Approached by The Press, Mr Newdick admitted that he had been ‘thrilled’ to be asked to design the sculpture - though he stressed that planners had yet to approve the proposal.

Mr Newdick began doing his cat sculptures as ‘signatures’ to mark buildings designed by York architect Tom Adams – and continued after Mr Adams’ death.

He has now done more than 20 cat sculptures in all.

Most are in York. “But I also have one in Washington DC – and another in India, on the rooftop of a building in Madras.”

The whole idea of the sculptures, Mr Newdick said, was to encourage people to raise their eyes and look up at the buildings around them.

So they are not always obvious, he stressed.

“You have to search to find them. You have to look up.”

The Grade II-listed theatre opened in 1935 as a theatre and lecture hall. It was designed by Barry Parker for the Joseph Rowntree Village Trust.