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White Swan Hotel plans are set for go-ahead
NEW plans to revitalise a landmark former hotel in the centre of York are on the verge of being approved, only weeks after being unveiled.
A Sainsbury’s store will open on the ground floor of the 100-year-old White Swan Hotel on Piccadilly and 18 flats will be created on its upper floors if proposals by its owners, the Graham Family Trust, are given the go-ahead by councillors.
City of York Council planners have recommended approving the application, submitted in mid-July. A previous scheme, including 14 flats, for the mock-Tudor building was rubber-stamped by the authority last December, but York has since been awarded £450,000 to help convert sections of the site into housing.
The plans have sought permission for the ground floor to be used as shops, a restaurant, offices, a bar or a combination of these uses, with Sainsbury’s confirming earlier this month that it wants to open a store as part of the scheme and a licensing application has been submitted. The chain has already secured permission for an outlet at Queen’s House, at the foot of Micklegate.
The Guildhall planning panel has objected to the proposals, saying it believed a restaurant or bar would not be “compatible” with the apartments on the upper floors of the site.
In a report which will go before next Thursday’s area planning sub-committee meeting, planner Jonathan Kenyon said either of the larger ground-floor units or both smaller units should be used for retail, saying: “Refurbishment of the building will improve its appearance and subsequently the character and appearance of the conservation area, and the proposals will help meet identified housing need.”
Talks about the White Swan’s future had taken place between the Trust, the council and the Fabrick Group, which runs affordable housing provider Tees Valley Housing Association. An agreement is expected to be signed with Tees Valley which ensures all the flats - 17 of which would be one-bedroom - are made available as affordable housing for at least 15 years, with a fallback position that four of the apartments are reserved as affordable homes if this deal is not struck.
The Press revealed last month that hundreds of other flats or small offices could be created above city-centre shops following a council-funded study by the North of England Civic Trust.