THE search is on for a new chair to head up York Civic Trust.

Stephen Lusty, who has held the post for more than four years, will be stepping down in October.

Now the search is on to find someone to replace him.

The Trust was founded at the Mansion House in 1946 by four men - John Bowes Morrell, Oliver Sheldon, Eric Milner-White and Noel Terry - worried about the threat post-war renewal could pose to York’s history and heritage.

But since then it has developed into a campaigning conservation organisation that is as much interested in helping shape the city’s future as it is in preserving the past.

It keeps a watchful eye on planning applications; engages in major projects such as the planning for York Central and the development of the York Local Plan; and has an active transport group which advises on improving York’s gridlocked transport system.

The Trust runs educational projects for children and young people – such as the twice-yearly schools public speaking competition – and produces York’s distinctive blue plaques. And it also runs York’s Georgian townhouse museum, Fairfax House. 

The chair leads the board of trustees which shapes the charity’s priorities and aims.

But the job is about much more than just chairing meetings.

“It involves lobbying, nudging, bringing people together, and making sure that there is action and that things happen,” Mr Lusty said.

This year, the Trust’s work is likely to be more important than ever.

York is facing real challenges – but also opportunities, Mr Lusty said.

York Central is at last beginning to take shape; and there’s the important the Coney Street Riverside development, plans for a local transport strategy, and the prospect of the imminent adoption of the city’s first Local Development Plan since 1956.

Then there is the small matter of devolution – and the election later this year of the first executive mayor for the whole of York and North Yorkshire.

York Civic Trust will have something to say on all of these, said Mr Lusty.

“York is such a nice place to be – and we need to play our part in maintaining that!” he said.

Thanking Mr Lusty for his years of dedication to the organisation, Richard Smith, chair of the Trust’s enterprise committee, said: “Stephen Lusty has been an enthusiastic and determined Chair, working tirelessly on behalf of the Civic Trust and its members to make the best of our great city.

“Whether it’s the cleanliness of the city’s streets or the opportunities provided by York Central, Stephen has used his position as Chair of trustees to effect positive change.”

He added: “The Civic Trust is looking for someone who is passionate about our city region and its remarkable heritage, ambitious yet realistic about how the Trust can help in ensuring York is an attractive place to live, work and visit.”

You can find out more about the unpaid role of Chair of York Civic Trust, and download a recruitment pack, at