A campaigning councillor plotting a legal move to quash controversial plans for a new visitor centre at one of York’s most historic visitor attractions has met his first fundraising target.
English Heritage has been granted planning permission by York Council to build a visitor centre the foot of Clifford’s Tower, but local independent councillor Johnny Hayes claims it is the “wrong building in the wrong place”.
Coun Hayes, a well-known shopkeeper, announced last month that he was applying for a judicial review into what he described as a “deeply flawed” planning process which saw the council’s planning committee vote 11 to three in favour of the plans - which also include new walkways and stairwells inside the 13th century monument.
The councillor has already plunged more than half of his teacher’s pension lump sum into his application to the High Court.
He has also launched a plea for public donations to help cover the costs and via an online Crowdfunding webpage, his “stage one” target to raise £7,800 has now been met.
Coun Hayes said: “This funding pays for the first phase up to ‘permission stage’ for the High Court application for a judicial review of the planned Clifford’s Tower visitor centre shop, café and viewing space that is planned to be built into the mound, sticking out into the eye of York.
“I took out this application for a judicial review because I was very unhappy with the process by which this decision was made. Now a High Court judge will look through all the case papers and determine whether the case should be given permission to move to a full hearing in the High Court.
“If the case is given permission to move forward we hope that the case might be quashed by City of York Council. Then the application could be re-evaluated by the planning committee.”
He said he was now bidding to double the fundraising total. So far 164 people have pledged money towards the legal challenge.