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FRESH CLASH OVER COPPERGATE

AGENDA

The never-ending battle over the future of one of the most sensitive sites in England is set to reignite.

The row over the development of the hugely contentious Coppergate site in York, which has already been the cause of two planning inquiries, seems ready to restart following the publication of yet another planning brief.

In addition, the AJ has also learned that the architect of the two failed attempts to build a shopping centre on the central York site - Chapman Taylor - is set to restart meetings with the landowner and developer Land Securities.

The pair are planning to draw up fresh plans ready for yet another planning application.

The site, which sits within the Castle and Piccadilly areas of historic central York, is close to many listed buildings and in the shadow of the famous Grade I-listed Clifford's Tower.

Chapman Taylor's last shopping-centre design triggered nationwide controversy when it was lodged.

It culminated with a planning inquiry which unusually featured CABE arguing against the project and English Heritage in favour.

Importantly, the powerful conservation lobby in York was militantly opposed to the £60 million development and campaigned to see it rejected.

Early signs suggest the new planning application is unlikely to have any easier passage through the planning process.

The planning brief, which refers to the site as being for 'retail-led mixed use', has had a lukewarm reception from the local groups.

One source at the York Civic Trust, a long-term opponent of developments on the site, told the AJ that the organisation was uncertain about recent developments.

'We have had a look at the new planning brief and we're not sure. We are very wary of what will emerge this time. It seems likely we'll have another battle on our hands, ' they said.

Prior to the last planning inquiry, Land Securities appointed John Pardey and Colin Stans-eld Smith to work with Chapman Taylor on revisions to the scheme.

However, inexplicably, these changes were suddenly dropped on the eve of the hearing.

It is understood that neither Stans-eld Smith nor Pardey have been approached to work on the new development.

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