City of York Council has apologised after a meeting in which a controversial planning application was to be determined was postponed shortly before it was due to take place.

Plans for a new Central Hall linking the two sides of the National Railway Museum (NRM) had been recommended for approval, despite significant concerns about access for locals through the building.

But the council said a systems failure meant that members of the public who had commented on the application beforehand were not told when the planning committee meeting was to take place.

James Gilchrist, director environment, transport and planning, said: “We have discovered today [Monday] that members of the public who made representations about the application to be considered have not been notified of the date and time of the meeting. 

“In order to ensure that all those who want their points of view heard are given a chance to take part, rather than proceed with the meeting, we have agreed with the chair of the planning committee that it will be rescheduled.

 “We can only apologise to those affected. It is unclear why our system has failed on this occasion and we are investigating now with a view to making sure the problem is not repeated in future.”

The plan attracted 119 objections, as well as 13 comments in support.

The proposals, which include an exhibition space and cafe, are projected to increase footfall to the museum to 1.2 million visitors per year.

NRM director Judith McNichol said: “We are disappointed that the application for Central Hall will not now be heard by the planning committee tonight [Monday], as planned, but remain 100 per cent committed to delivering the many benefits that the project can deliver to the museum and the city.” 

Ms Nichol said her team would work with the council to bring the application before the planning committee “as soon as possible”. 

She added: “The proposals for Central Hall are a once in a generation opportunity for the museum to realise its potential as the ‘world’s railway museum’ by improving our offer, welcoming more visitors, and helping us to inspire the next generation of engineers and problem-solvers.”