Guildhall project cost shoots up by 21% to £11.9 million

Council will borrow over £10,000,000

York Guildhall

York Guildhall

The York Council has now admitted that the project to create a business club and restaurant at the Guildhall will cost £780,000 a year in interest charges.

It says it can only recoup £500,000 a year from rentals, leaving taxpayers to pick up an annual bill for £430,000.

Part of the huge escalation in costs results from the deterioration in the condition of the historic building since it was abandoned by the then Labour led authority nearly four years ago.

They had no idea what to do with the empty building so embarked on an expensive and time consuming international design competition in 2012.

The new coalition run Council had the option to take decisive action over a year ago but dithered.  They had been stridentwhile in opposition, in criticising Labour’s £9.2 million plans for the building .

Originally, it had been intended to put the modern part of the complex on the open market with the intention of using the income to sustain the Listed building. The Council would have continued to use the historic part of the building.

The only justification for the project now seems to be a speculated increase in GVA (Gross Value Add) to the local economy of £66m. However, this would have occurred anyway with a private sector driven alternative.

The Council has already spent £750,000 on the project.

Potential support from regional organisations and the Heritage Lottery Fund has not materialised.

The Council now doesn’t  expect the building to open before late 2018.

So why would seemingly intelligent representatives do a U turn on such risky venture?

Well it takes courage – and experience – to challenge Council officials and consultants. They have a vested interest in projects appearing to be a “success”. They will provide elected members with information which suits their version of events.  They will not volunteer other choices (like testing the market with other use options).

A similar situation has occurred with the Stadium project.

We doubt if the Council’s Executive will step back from the brink at this stage

If they do so, they will be accused of wasting £750k of taxpayer’s money.

 If they don’t, then costs will continue to escalate and taxpayers – and other public service standards – will suffer.

Children asked to share ideas on playing in York’s parks

Local children and young people are being invited to tell the council what they would like to see and do in their local play parks.

Tedder Rd park playground 4 noon 6th June 2016

Tedder Road playground

The consultation is an important part of the city’s updated play policy ‘Taking Play Forward’ which was approved in May 2016. It is being launched with this summer’s Shine programme of activities for five to 18 year olds and asks young people what they would like to see take place, whether new equipment or other improvements.

The consultation includes City of York Council and Parish Council-controlled play areas and will influence how £265,000 of funding will be spent on playground improvements in 2017/18. Around £30,000 has already been allocated towards the replacement skatepark in Rowntree Park.

Suggestions are invited from children, young people, parents or carers and their ideas will be considered by a multi agency panel, including young people themselves. Photos or drawings are also welcomed. A final list of schemes will be forwarded to the Executive Member for approval and prizes of play and sports equipment to use in outdoor play areas are available for the best ideas.

Latest planning applications for the Westfield Ward

Below are the latest planning applications received by the York Council for the Westfield ward.

Full details can be found by clicking the words highlighted in blue


Acomb Jewellers 10 Acomb Court Front Street York YO24 3BJ

Change of Use of first floor from shop (use class A1) to dwelling (use class C3) and alterations to form new entrance to flat

Ref. No: 16/01497/FUL 


67 Queenswood Grove York YO24 4PN

Erection of single storey extension extending 4.00 metres beyond the rear wall of the original house, with a height to the eaves of 2.40 metres and a total height of 3.55 metres 

Ref. No: 16/01506/LHE 


28 Kingsthorpe York YO24 4PR

Two storey side extension, single storey side and rear extensions and detached garage with garden room to rear 

Ref. No: 16/01499/FUL 


36 Queenswood Grove York YO24 4PP

Alterations to roof of existing two storey side extension to form a gable, including removal of existing side dormer 

Ref. No: 16/01390/FUL 


 Representations can be made in favour of, or in objection to, any application via the Planning on line web site.

The Council now no longer routinely consults neighbours by letter when an application is received

Other planning applications

The planning committee taking place on 14th July will consider

  • Askham Bryan – The college is seeking permission to erect an additional 7 animal shelters. Details can be found by clicking here
  • Poppleton Garden Centre – The centre is seeking permission to use part of its car park for car washing facilities. The application is recommended for refusal although the Council designated the area as a commercial development site as recently as last week! Details here

Other applications being considered by the Committee include:

Construction of two all-weather tennis courts and an all-weather multi-use sports court with associated perimeter fencing and 10 no. 8 m floodlight columns. [Site Visit] [Huntington/New Earswick Ward]

Construction of two all-weather tennis courts and an all-weather multi-use sports court with associated perimeter fencing and 10 no. 8 m floodlight columns.  [Huntington/New Earswick Ward]

Erection of 129 Extra Care Apartments (Class C3B) and 44 Care Suites (Class C2) and play area following demolition of Red Lodge, former library and tennis clubhouse buildings, external alterations to Folk Hall, construction of multi-use games area on recreation ground. [Huntington/New Earswick Ward]

Internal and external alterations including installation of lift and alterations to entrances and ramps.   [Huntington/New Earswick]

Erection of four seasonal tents utilising existing access, the creation and maintaining of a footpath link, and the incorporation of a habitat enhancement plan  [WheldrakeWard]


Meet author Jean Harrod: A diplomat turned crime writer

York Explore Library :

Thu 7 Jul : 6.30pm – 8.00pm :

£3 or £2 with a York Card

July 7_Jean Harrod _1Jean Harrod will talk about her life as a diplomat. She worked behind the ‘Iron’ Curtain (East Berlin) during the Cold War, and the ‘Bamboo’ Curtain (Peking and Shanghai) after Mao’s death; and in many other embassies around the world.

As British Consul, Indonesia, she dealt with murders, missing persons, and a terrorist kidnapping involving Britons, working with the police on investigations and forensics. One day, she decided, she would write a series of diplomatic crime novels.

Deadly Diplomacy was published in 2015, featuring diplomat Jess Turner and Australian DI Sangster. A British businesswoman is brutally murdered in a Queensland resort. Jess travels to Brisbane to liaise with the police and the help the victim’s journalist sister. They soon become the killer’s target.

Deadly Deceit (June 2016) is set in the British Turks and Caicos Islands, Caribbean, where Jess Turner is on assignment to the Governor’s Office. The coral seas are stunning, but things are not what they seem. The locals are upset about illegal migrants from Haiti arriving on their shores, and fearful of their voodoo. The Governor is critically injured in an accident, and a brutal murder occurs. What Jess uncovers sends shockwaves all the way to London.

For more information about Jean please visit or visit her on twitter: @jeanharrod.

Ticket can be bought online at or at any York library.

There are a maximum of 60 tickets available.