New plans submitted for The Roman Quarter development

Redesigned plans have been submitted for The Roman Quarter project in York, a major mixed-use development in the City Centre that includes a world class Roman visitor attraction. 

Original plans for the project were recommended for approval by Officers but were refused by City of York’s Planning Committee in February 2021 and the development has been fully redesigned, taking on board feedback from the Council and other stakeholders. 

It is now a truly mixed-use development including the Roman attraction – called EBORACUM, Grade A office space, an aparthotel and new homes.  The project is a partnership between joint applicants Rougier Street Developments, owners of the site, and York Archaeological Trust. 

Redeveloping Northern House, Rougier House and Society will be a major economic boost for York, delivering over £315m for the local economy over 30 years, as well as 625 new jobs for local people and a vibrant addition to the city’s cultural offer.

Award winning architect Vincent & Brown has remodelled the plans and the vision is now made-up of two distinct buildings, that showcase the Roman attraction and breathe new life into Rougier Street. 

The EBORACUM museum attraction will 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. It will also provide educational benefits and inspire the next generation of archaeologists and historians.  The new attraction will be more than twice the size of the JORVIK Viking Centre, which the Trust has run successfully for over 35 years.  In that time it has welcomed around 20 million visitors. 

Integral to the plans are a two-year archaeological dig that will be streamed across the world and will give the opportunity for every school child in York to take part.  This landmark dig will help to tell York’s unique story and provide more information on the lives of previous generations. 

This mixed-use scheme includes an 88-room aparthotel and 153 new apartments with both being run by ‘Beyond’ an innovative sustainable operator.  The sites will be carbon neutral minimise waste and use zero chemicals to clean to provide healthy spaces for guests, staff and the wider community. 

An additional 25,000 sq ft of new Grade A Office space will complete the scheme, providing much-needed quality, modern office space in the heart of York city centre.

The proposed building will sit lower than its neighbours, the new Malmaison hotel, Aviva offices and The Grand Hotel. 

The new proposals deliver vastly improved public realm with improved active frontages at ground level on 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 with public open space and soft landscaping introduced.

A spokesperson for North Star, who are working alongside the applicants, commented:

“During the past year, we have worked closely with the Council and taken on board feedback to ensure that the new proposals offer as many benefits as possible and address the reasons for refusal.  

 “We are grateful for the feedback from the Planning Committee and have addressed the comments that the previous design was ‘monolithic’ by making the design more fluid and breaking up the massing of the development.  The new plans retain the benefits of the original concept but in much improved design. 

“These plans offer a once in a generation opportunity to regenerate this part of the City Centre, as well as creating a globally unique Roman visitor attraction, in a high-quality mixed-use scheme. 

David Jennings, Chief Executive of the York Archaeological Trust said:

“We are still very excited by this project, seeing how much the Roman Quarter can potentially contribute to York’s economy and future.  Plans for the Coppergate Centre – including the basement attraction that became JORVIK – were approved at the second submission by members of a planning committee who shared the vision for an attraction that built on York’s heritage as part of a wider, mixed-use development.  We would urge their counterparts to do the same.

“What is also important to recognise is that 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. The high cost of undertaking this work means that it needs a special commitment to realise the public value – without recourse to the public purse – that, like JORVIK before it, will give back to the community for decades to come.”

A decision on the plans is expected in the coming months.