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RMJM's Hungate scheme dropped due to English Heritage pressure

English Heritage (EH) has torpedoed RMJM’s proposed new £40 million headquarters for the City of York Council in Hungate.

The local authority decided it had no option but to withdraw plans for its flagship offices after EH criticised the ‘height and bulk of the [planned] building’ and branded the scheme ‘too large for the sensitive site’.

EH also hit out at the council’s choice of plot for its new headquarters – close to the Grade II*-listed Black Swan pub and the Grade-I St Anrthony’s Hall – claiming the it had not been ‘involved in selecting the site or putting together the development brief’.

The organisation’s outburst has come as a shock to RMJM, which has already redesigned the scheme once and has been working within a wider masterplan drawn up by John Thompson & Partners.

Practice director Adrian Boot said: ‘The project team consulted extensively with all the appropriate bodies, including many meetings with English Heritage where we received positive feedback, direction guidance and support for the development.

‘In the context of that consultation, the letter from English Heritage is somewhat surprising, very frustrating and disappointing for us and our client.’

It is unclear what the local authority, which has already spent £4.9 million on the proposals to date, will do next.

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