Conservationists have welcomed the appointment of York's first heritage champion.

Coun Dave Taylor, who represents the Green party on City of York Council, has taken on the role of promoting and protecting the city's rich architectural and cultural heritage.

The move has been hailed by members of York Civic Trust, who said the appointment was long overdue.

Peter Brown, secretary of the trust, said: "We have been pressing for this for months and months and we are very encouraged that the council has decided to do it.

"The champion will provide us with a very clear focus at city council level to make sure that all the issues that concern us don't fall by the wayside.

"Our colleagues around the country have been saying that their councils have heritage champions, and it has been slightly embarrassing that we haven't had one in York.

"We look forward to working very closely with the champion."

Coun Dave Taylor, who also represents the Fishergate ward, said he felt very passionately about York's heritage.

He said: "We have a heritage that is maybe 2,000 years old, but we lose historic buildings in York far too frequently.

"People don't visit York to go shopping at Debenhams, they can do that in Milton Keynes.

"They come here to see York's heritage and I feel very passionately about protecting it and finding suitable uses for historic buildings."

As a member of the Castle Area Campaign group, Coun Taylor is already a prominent advocate of York's heritage.

In 2003, the group was successful in persuading the Government to block a £60million extension to the Coppergate Centre, claiming it would have a disastrous impact on Clifford's Tower.

Coun Taylor said: "I will be a voice for the heritage in York and I will be there to stand up for the city's historic environment.

"It is astonishing that York has not had a councillor heritage champion before now, when many other cities in the UK have.

"I'm delighted that this oversight has now been addressed and I'm proud that I should be York's first councillor heritage champion.

"I will be working closely with the Civic Trust, English Heritage and other agencies that deal with heritage issues."