WHEN York's McArthurGlen's Designer Outlet opened 25 years ago clothes made the headlines - but for the wrong reasons.

The £64 million shopping centre on the site of the former Naburn Hospital opened on November 12 1998 - but drew protests from eco-campaigners, including one York mother who stripped off in front of the Lord Mayor.

As reported in The Press at the time, the lavish ceremony to mark the opening ended in chaos when a woman ripped off her clothes in front of dignitaries.

She shouted "Shopping, shopping, shopping" and "This is sad" in front of the assembled VIPs before she was arrested by police and escorted from the scene.

The woman was the second streaker to upset the ceremony. Minutes earlier a naked man had darted past a queue of shoppers waiting at the main entrance.

York Press: Streaker stages protest at the opening of McArthurGlen Designer Outlet in York in 1998Streaker stages protest at the opening of McArthurGlen Designer Outlet in York in 1998 (Image: Supplied)

In all, 19 protesters were taken away by police after a series of minor scuffles at the new outlet which hoped to bring five million shoppers to the site in its first year and an extra one million visitors to York.

Police with dogs and extra private security guards were drafted in to deal with the disturbances after campaigners gathered outside, shouting and throwing leaflets.

The protest came on the heels of a long campaign to stop the development.

Campaigners took to trees and dug tunnels on the former Naburn Hospital site near Fulford in a "Swampy-style" bid to block the development.

A massive security operation eventually cleared the land of campaigners and a steel fence was erected to keep them out - but the process delayed the opening by one year.

A record 30,000 shoppers came to the centre on its opening day.

The new development, set in 60 acres of mature woodland, opened with 85 units and parking for more than 2,600 cars.

When it opened, the outlet marked a fashion first for York. Top designer labels such as Armani, Donna Karan and Paul Smith were available in York for the first time.

The USP of the designer centre was that all goods were on sale at reductions of between 30-70 per cent.

York Press: Let the shopping begin - McArthurGlen opens in November 1998Let the shopping begin - McArthurGlen opens in November 1998 (Image: Supplied)

More than 50 shops opened on the first day, with a further 30 coming on stream in January 1999. In 2000, when the second phase of the development opened, the retail centre boasted 150 shops.

Over the years, the shopping centre has added extra seasonal attractions including a Winter Wonderland ice rink and a summer beach and roller skating rink.