ONE of York’s most significant historic structures needs its roof replacing due to rotting timbers and water damage, according to planning documents.

Bootham Bar, the Grade I listed building and Scheduled Monument in the city centre, has been the subject of a ‘detailed condition survey’ in 2022 and 2023, a structural inspection in March 2023 and a Heritage, Design and Access Statement in November of the same year, the planning documents say.

The reports variously highlighted failed repairs to the lead roof, issues with parts of the structure including a saturated and rotten timber roof following water damage.

York Press: The circular turrets at the top of Bootham Bar are often referred to as 'bartizan' turretsThe circular turrets at the top of Bootham Bar are often referred to as 'bartizan' turrets (Image: Simon Walton)

The current lead roof is thought to date from 1969-70, when the timber roof structure was renewed, planning documents reveal.

Proposals also suggest raising the height of one of the round ‘bartizan’ turrets to aid safe access to the roof for future maintenance.

Documents propose the removal of a small part of the historic stone masonry, although they say that this was itself rebuilt in 1978-79.


A Heritage, Design and Access Statement from Donald Insall Associates issued on November 15 last year said the poor condition of the roof was identified during a 2020 Conservation Management Plan developed by them for City of York Council, alongside historic research and site visits.

After the condition survey of early 2023, Historic England (HE) was consulted over sketch designs, and feedback led to detailed proposal drawings later submitted for planning and Scheduled Monument Consent, say the documents.

Council documents say: “The proposed roof will utilise the existing timber roof structure with replacement timber substrate and structure where found to be rotten, following guidance from Mason Clark Associates (structural engineers).

“The replacement lead to the roof will provide improved bay and gutter widths, falls drips and new wood core rolls in accordance with Lead Sheet Association Guidance.”

One of the proposed options, following discussion with Historic England, was to relocate the drainpipes outside one of the building’s elevations to protect against future issues with ingress of water and help maintain ways of shedding rainwater away from a building.

Bootham Bar is used as a gateway as part of the York City Walls and is a tourist attraction and cultural heritage asset open to the public.

The planning documents say it has been a gateway for more than 1,900 years and was subject to extensive restoration in the nineteenth century and was the last gate to lose its barbican in 1931.

Detail of the planning application can be read here.