DEVELOPERS have returned to the drawing board to design a new scheme to build houses that incorporate a protected part of York history after locals objected to its colour.

Plans have been changed to an application for two four-bedroom town houses at Chelmsford Place, 79 Fulford Road, Fishergate - currently a derelict site apart from a row of stone arches dating back more than 180 years, once part of York Theatre Royal.

Under the original scheme, the exterior of the building was red brick. This has been changed to a lighter exterior in a new submission to planners.

Permission was originally given between 2018 and 2020 to incorporate the arches into a development of six flats and a cafe.

But the site was resold last year and a new application sought to build two family homes instead, complete with four parking spaces.

York Press: Artist's impression of proposed arches development in Fulford Road - updated plans propose a new scheme. Photo from planning documentsArtist's impression of proposed arches development in Fulford Road - updated plans propose a new scheme. Photo from planning documents

However, after a raft of criticism over the design - specifically its red brick and black detail exterior - architects have submitted a new scheme for council planners to consider.

Leading the objections to the original red-brick scheme was City of York Council conservation officer Edward Freedman who said the design would have a "harmful impact on the settings of the arcade and the two conservation areas facing the site, and the historic and architectural qualities of the townscape on the east side of Fulford Road".


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Also objecting to the original scheme was Dave Taylor, former Green councillor and ex-Lord Mayor of York, of New Walk Terrace, just over the road from the development.

He said the height was "over bearing" and the proposed materials on the front were "inappropriate and clash badly with the historic arches and with the pale brick colour of Chelmsford Place".

He added: "Frankly, the only thing in favour of this proposal is that it retains the 'historic' arches which were removed and relocated from the frontage of York Theatre Royal c.1879. This is the one positive aspect."

Another neighbour, Elizabeth Gibson, of Grange Barn Grange, Garth, also listed her objections, stating: "The proposal overbears the stone arches. The proposed pink/red brick colour is out of keeping with adjacent properties."

York Press: Revised plan for Chelmsford Place development in Fishergate. Photo from planning documentsRevised plan for Chelmsford Place development in Fishergate. Photo from planning documents

The Fishergate Planning Panel supported the scheme, but raised concerns about the colour of the building too.

In its comment, it called for three changes, including "more contextual materials palette to front and rear".

Edward Waterson, St Mary's, wrote in support of the scheme, stating it was "an imaginative, sympathetic proposal and an improvement on previous schemes. It will enhance the area, remove what has been an eyesore for many years, provide family housing and retain the stone arches."

York Press: Chelmsford Place and the old facade. Photo from ffhyork.weeblyChelmsford Place and the old facade. Photo from ffhyork.weebly

The development in Fishergate is in the heart of one of York's historic areas, including the Fulford Road and New Walk conservation areas. The area also includes a large number of buildings recognised as being of merit including listed buildings The Lodge and The Lighthorseman pub as well as the three Gothic theatre arches, designed by John Harper in 1834.

The arches once adorned York Theatre Royal but were moved to their current location when the theatre was remodelled in 1879.

Planners made the arches the subject of an Article 4 Direction in 2017 to protect their heritage value and secure their retention within any redevelopment scheme.

View the planning application (ref: 24/00212/FUL), online at:

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