FRESH plans have been submitted for a ‘Roman Quarter’ in York, almost a year after the original proposals were sensationally rejected by city planners.
The revised proposals for Rougier Street still include a huge new underground Roman museum – Eboracum – which will be more than twice the size of Jorvik.
But the 10-storey block of 211 apartments plus offices and shops which was originally planned has been replaced with two less ‘monolithic’ buildings.
They will be the same height as the originally-planned block, but architects Vincent & Brown have remodelled them to be softer-edged and to be more ‘organic and fluid’, in response to feedback from the council.
The new development as it might look from across the river
The new development would be lower than its neighbours, the new Malmaison hotel, Aviva offices and The Grand Hotel, the developers stress.
The mixed-use scheme includes an 88-room aparthotel and 153 new apartments. There would also be an additional 25,000 square feet of office space.
Rougier Street Developments and its partner North Star, which would redevelop the site with the York Archaeological Trust, say it would be a ‘major economic boost for York’, generating more than £315m for the local economy over 30 years, as well as 625 new jobs.
Artist's impression of the entrance to the Eboracum museum with the new buildings rising above
The developers say the scheme would deliver a ‘vastly improved public realm’ in Rougier Street. “It will re-open a historic Roman street – Tanner Street – and provide a connection between Tanner’s Moat and Tanner Row, bringing a new vibrancy to this area,” they say.
The new Roman museum, which would be partly on the ground floor and partly below it, would be a ‘major addition to York’s economy, celebrating the city’s early Roman past and providing a major boost in the City’s visitor economy’, they add.
The plans also provide for a two-year archaeological dig that would be ‘streamed across the world’ and would give the opportunity for every schoolchild in York to take part.
How the inside of the planned new Roman museum could look
Despite being recommended for approval by planning officers, the original plans were rejected by city councillors in February last year on the grounds that the proposed new block was too big and too monolithic.
Cllr Mark Warters warned: “This could become one of York’s most hated buildings.”
Council deputy leader Andy D’Agorne, meanwhile, said the proposed building was just a ‘bolder and brasher ugly duckling’ to replace the 1960s buildings there now.
Commenting on the redesigned plans, a spokesperson for North Star said: “During the past year, we have worked closely with the council and taken on board feedback. We have addressed the comments that the previous design was ‘monolithic’ by making the design more fluid and breaking up the massing of the development. These plans offer a once-in-a-generation opportunity to regenerate this part of the city centre.”
Artist's impression showing the new development, centre, glimpsed across the city wall
David Jennings, Chief Executive of the York Archaeological Trust said: “This is an incredibly rare opportunity: the location, quality of archaeological deposits and partnership of developer and archaeological charity is highly unlikely to be offered to the city again.
"Like Jorvik before it, will give back to the community for decades to come.”