‘Closed doors’ fears over sale of Reynard’s garage in Piccadilly

York Press: The Reynard’s Garage site in Piccadilly, York The Reynard’s Garage site in Piccadilly, York

YORK’S former heritage champion has accused city leaders of planning to sell a city-centre building which was once an aircraft factory to hotel developers in “clandestine” fashion.

The sale of Reynard’s garage in Piccadilly, the 1930s home of aircraft manufacturer Airspeed Ltd which the Yorkshire Air Museum hoped to turn into a visitor attraction, is to be agreed by a senior City of York Council official and one of its cabinet members. They will select a preferred bidder from a shortlist of four.

All bids include a hotel, with the council – whose cabinet approved delegating a decision on the sale last night – saying the chosen scheme will help regenerate Piccadilly.

But Green councillor Dave Taylor, who held the heritage champion role before it was scrapped, said the “mysterious” process and criteria for selling the council-owned site should be opened to public scrutiny and the air museum’s plans should come back into consideration.

He said: “What is at stake is a building and site of some historical interest, not just an asset to be disposed of without reference to its heritage. This is not a decision which should be taken behind closed doors by some clandestine cabal. The council is tarnished by doing business in this way.”

Coun Taylor said that, without the criteria being published, residents would “think the worst as another piece of York’s heritage is bulldozed”.

He said demolishing Reynard’s would remove the most tangible evidence of the role in York of aviation pioneers Nevil Shute Norway and Amy Johnson, who were both involved in Airspeed.

York Green Party chair Denise Craghill told the cabinet the Airspeed attraction proposals had local support and would be “a more interesting draw than yet another soulless hotel”.

Coun Dafydd Williams, cabinet member for finance and performance, said: “I will reflect on comments made, but I am not going to make any promises and I am not going to apologise for the fact we are looking to maximise our financial interest in this site.”

Council leader James Alexander said he respected the site’s heritage, But he said: “I’m sure these pioneers would not have wanted it to languish for so long – I don’t think it’s right to restart the process, and we need to get on with this.”

Comments (25)

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11:05am Wed 8 Jan 14

greenmonkey says...

Council leader James Alexander said he respected the site’s heritage, But he said: “I’m sure these pioneers would not have wanted it to languish for so long
- only reason its been left for so long is because the council was hanging on in the hope of making money on it when Castle Piccadilly site developed as a shopping centre. However they shot that down with the John Lewis decision at Monks Cross. Who wants another hotel anyway when the ones that already have approval at Barbican and Walmgate are still waiting for work to start on them?
Council leader James Alexander said he respected the site’s heritage, But he said: “I’m sure these pioneers would not have wanted it to languish for so long - only reason its been left for so long is because the council was hanging on in the hope of making money on it when Castle Piccadilly site developed as a shopping centre. However they shot that down with the John Lewis decision at Monks Cross. Who wants another hotel anyway when the ones that already have approval at Barbican and Walmgate are still waiting for work to start on them? greenmonkey

11:13am Wed 8 Jan 14

eeoodares says...

Alexander and his cronies do not care about you or York.

Come the next election, vote them out and keep them out for a generation!
Alexander and his cronies do not care about you or York. Come the next election, vote them out and keep them out for a generation! eeoodares

11:22am Wed 8 Jan 14

markymmark says...

If the Council has taken so long with this site in order to make more money then surely that is in the interest of the Council tax payers of York - Why slate them for it ?
If the Council has taken so long with this site in order to make more money then surely that is in the interest of the Council tax payers of York - Why slate them for it ? markymmark

11:27am Wed 8 Jan 14

franshaw says...

Alexander's changed his tune, he tweeted the following last year:

""First it's save York's 1970s cobbles - now it's save derelict eyesore tram shed. York's true heritage is not same as resistance to change"

now he respects the site heritage?

the man twists and turns and cannot, imo, be trusted...
Alexander's changed his tune, he tweeted the following last year: ""First it's save York's 1970s cobbles - now it's save derelict eyesore tram shed. York's true heritage is not same as resistance to change" now he respects the site heritage? the man twists and turns and cannot, imo, be trusted... franshaw

11:36am Wed 8 Jan 14

The Great Buda says...

The "mysterious process and criteria" is that the Council is duty bound to sell the highest bidder.

The Greens know this. They would have to follow the same rules if (god forbid) they ever gain power.
The "mysterious process and criteria" is that the Council is duty bound to sell the highest bidder. The Greens know this. They would have to follow the same rules if (god forbid) they ever gain power. The Great Buda

11:40am Wed 8 Jan 14

long distance depressive says...

Is there an official name for this hotel fetish that Alexander has?
Is there an official name for this hotel fetish that Alexander has? long distance depressive

12:02pm Wed 8 Jan 14

jaycee says...

If your assertion is correct Great Buda then why the need to have a shortlist when surely one of the 4 must be the highest bidder.Also, if someone had put in a bid twice the amount of the hotel bids and wanted to turn the site into a lap dancing club would the coucil be duty bound to sell to the highest bidder -I think not !!
If your assertion is correct Great Buda then why the need to have a shortlist when surely one of the 4 must be the highest bidder.Also, if someone had put in a bid twice the amount of the hotel bids and wanted to turn the site into a lap dancing club would the coucil be duty bound to sell to the highest bidder -I think not !! jaycee

12:09pm Wed 8 Jan 14

Ignatius Lumpopo says...

Just look at it. It's a dump. Knock it down - and then build a hotel with a museum on the ground floor.
Just look at it. It's a dump. Knock it down - and then build a hotel with a museum on the ground floor. Ignatius Lumpopo

1:07pm Wed 8 Jan 14

beermeup says...

There are already 3 central sites with planning permission for hotels none of which have moved forward for months! Save this historic building before Yorks heritage is sold off piecemeal. I have emailed councillors of all parties about this site and the only one who had the decency to reply was a Green Party councillor. Your council doesn't care about you or Yorks heritage it cares only about itself. Shameful!
There are already 3 central sites with planning permission for hotels none of which have moved forward for months! Save this historic building before Yorks heritage is sold off piecemeal. I have emailed councillors of all parties about this site and the only one who had the decency to reply was a Green Party councillor. Your council doesn't care about you or Yorks heritage it cares only about itself. Shameful! beermeup

1:23pm Wed 8 Jan 14

Matt_S says...

I'd prefer housing to either a hotel or a museum. There is a chronic shortage, which is pushing up rents and making it difficult for those on a low wage to get by without claiming benefits.
I'd prefer housing to either a hotel or a museum. There is a chronic shortage, which is pushing up rents and making it difficult for those on a low wage to get by without claiming benefits. Matt_S

1:29pm Wed 8 Jan 14

meme says...

come on, its hardly a piece of York's architectural heritage its a derelict shed which had links to aircraft production years ago but its an eyesore.
Its far better for the council to raise some money by getting this redeveloped and use the money for more worthwhile projects.
An aircraft museum may be desirable but given its size it will never be a great benefit to York unless they get it free and we as York residents then don't get any revenue which the Council needs.
Let it be developed and improve Piccadilly which successive councils have managed to stop inadvertently over the years and make this street one we can be pound of again
come on, its hardly a piece of York's architectural heritage its a derelict shed which had links to aircraft production years ago but its an eyesore. Its far better for the council to raise some money by getting this redeveloped and use the money for more worthwhile projects. An aircraft museum may be desirable but given its size it will never be a great benefit to York unless they get it free and we as York residents then don't get any revenue which the Council needs. Let it be developed and improve Piccadilly which successive councils have managed to stop inadvertently over the years and make this street one we can be pound of again meme

1:39pm Wed 8 Jan 14

Pinza-C55 says...

"Coun Dafydd Williams, cabinet member for finance and performance, said: “I will reflect on comments made, but I am not going to make any promises and I am not going to apologise for the fact we are looking to maximise our financial interest in this site.”
If it is true that the council are seeking to maximise their financial gain from the site, why are there four bidders? Surely it should be simply the highest bidder, end of?
"Coun Dafydd Williams, cabinet member for finance and performance, said: “I will reflect on comments made, but I am not going to make any promises and I am not going to apologise for the fact we are looking to maximise our financial interest in this site.” If it is true that the council are seeking to maximise their financial gain from the site, why are there four bidders? Surely it should be simply the highest bidder, end of? Pinza-C55

1:54pm Wed 8 Jan 14

brownsoundz says...

Pinza-C55 wrote:
"Coun Dafydd Williams, cabinet member for finance and performance, said: “I will reflect on comments made, but I am not going to make any promises and I am not going to apologise for the fact we are looking to maximise our financial interest in this site.” If it is true that the council are seeking to maximise their financial gain from the site, why are there four bidders? Surely it should be simply the highest bidder, end of?
spot on. other bidders have had there time and money wasted. Can see the council having to pay back the tender costs.
[quote][p][bold]Pinza-C55[/bold] wrote: "Coun Dafydd Williams, cabinet member for finance and performance, said: “I will reflect on comments made, but I am not going to make any promises and I am not going to apologise for the fact we are looking to maximise our financial interest in this site.” If it is true that the council are seeking to maximise their financial gain from the site, why are there four bidders? Surely it should be simply the highest bidder, end of?[/p][/quote]spot on. other bidders have had there time and money wasted. Can see the council having to pay back the tender costs. brownsoundz

1:57pm Wed 8 Jan 14

Dave Taylor says...

Matt_S: The Airspeed Museum proposal did contain elements of housing in it, which would fund the proposal and make it financially viable. The hotel proposals did not. This is how it could've been: http://yorkstories.c
o.uk/buildings/plans
-for-airspeed-a-1930
s-adventure/
Matt_S: The Airspeed Museum proposal did contain elements of housing in it, which would fund the proposal and make it financially viable. The hotel proposals did not. This is how it could've been: http://yorkstories.c o.uk/buildings/plans -for-airspeed-a-1930 s-adventure/ Dave Taylor

2:05pm Wed 8 Jan 14

Matt_S says...

Dave Taylor wrote:
Matt_S: The Airspeed Museum proposal did contain elements of housing in it, which would fund the proposal and make it financially viable. The hotel proposals did not. This is how it could've been: http://yorkstories.c

o.uk/buildings/plans

-for-airspeed-a-1930

s-adventure/
How much housing are we talking about? The pdf from that webpage is no longer available.
[quote][p][bold]Dave Taylor[/bold] wrote: Matt_S: The Airspeed Museum proposal did contain elements of housing in it, which would fund the proposal and make it financially viable. The hotel proposals did not. This is how it could've been: http://yorkstories.c o.uk/buildings/plans -for-airspeed-a-1930 s-adventure/[/p][/quote]How much housing are we talking about? The pdf from that webpage is no longer available. Matt_S

2:29pm Wed 8 Jan 14

The Great Buda says...

jaycee wrote:
If your assertion is correct Great Buda then why the need to have a shortlist when surely one of the 4 must be the highest bidder.Also, if someone had put in a bid twice the amount of the hotel bids and wanted to turn the site into a lap dancing club would the coucil be duty bound to sell to the highest bidder -I think not !!
On your first point, I'd guess thats its to check their telling the truth before its sold to them. Full scrutany of their business plan etc

On the second, a lap dancing club is still a buisness and would need a suitable buisness plan. So they'd fall down under my answer to your first point.

The council has a legal duty to secure the best deal for us the Tax payers.
[quote][p][bold]jaycee[/bold] wrote: If your assertion is correct Great Buda then why the need to have a shortlist when surely one of the 4 must be the highest bidder.Also, if someone had put in a bid twice the amount of the hotel bids and wanted to turn the site into a lap dancing club would the coucil be duty bound to sell to the highest bidder -I think not !![/p][/quote]On your first point, I'd guess thats its to check their telling the truth before its sold to them. Full scrutany of their business plan etc On the second, a lap dancing club is still a buisness and would need a suitable buisness plan. So they'd fall down under my answer to your first point. The council has a legal duty to secure the best deal for us the Tax payers. The Great Buda

3:13pm Wed 8 Jan 14

jaycee says...

Your first statement Buda says it goes to the highest bidder .Your second statement says the best deal for the tax payer.Two very different and contrasting statements.Why would a lap dancing club fail if it's business plan and amount of money it was paying were better than the hotels concerned .The coffers of the council would be fatter and it would be the best deal for the tax payer.Similarly I still don't see the problem with including ythe air museum as one of the final choices.
Your first statement Buda says it goes to the highest bidder .Your second statement says the best deal for the tax payer.Two very different and contrasting statements.Why would a lap dancing club fail if it's business plan and amount of money it was paying were better than the hotels concerned .The coffers of the council would be fatter and it would be the best deal for the tax payer.Similarly I still don't see the problem with including ythe air museum as one of the final choices. jaycee

5:15pm Wed 8 Jan 14

lifes2 says...

Knock it down, I for one won't care. Why after all these years argue about some tin shack, that up until recently has been ignored ? it's odd isn't it that suddenly sites which have been largely ignored by YC and left to rot are suddenly in the spotlight for development, or have been identified as of historic interest. How about focusing on the eye sore which is the Barbican ?Historically a grade two listed eye sore, which could be sold to the highest bidder on the basis that the council '' need to get on with this.”
Knock it down, I for one won't care. Why after all these years argue about some tin shack, that up until recently has been ignored ? it's odd isn't it that suddenly sites which have been largely ignored by YC and left to rot are suddenly in the spotlight for development, or have been identified as of historic interest. How about focusing on the eye sore which is the Barbican ?Historically a grade two listed eye sore, which could be sold to the highest bidder on the basis that the council '' need to get on with this.” lifes2

5:30pm Wed 8 Jan 14

Guthred says...

jaycee wrote:
Your first statement Buda says it goes to the highest bidder .Your second statement says the best deal for the tax payer.Two very different and contrasting statements.Why would a lap dancing club fail if it's business plan and amount of money it was paying were better than the hotels concerned .The coffers of the council would be fatter and it would be the best deal for the tax payer.Similarly I still don't see the problem with including ythe air museum as one of the final choices.
I suspect that the reason that the grounds for the decision was rubber stamped in red with "TOP SECRET" and "FOR LABOUR GROUP EYES ONLY" was because as soon as the expressions of interest were received they had already decided that the site was going to be a hotel. Then it's just a matter of "which hote?" during the tender process, and then making the criterea fit the decision. They would not want to jeopardize that decision when they could see that the Airspeed YAM was gaining public interest.
[quote][p][bold]jaycee[/bold] wrote: Your first statement Buda says it goes to the highest bidder .Your second statement says the best deal for the tax payer.Two very different and contrasting statements.Why would a lap dancing club fail if it's business plan and amount of money it was paying were better than the hotels concerned .The coffers of the council would be fatter and it would be the best deal for the tax payer.Similarly I still don't see the problem with including ythe air museum as one of the final choices.[/p][/quote]I suspect that the reason that the grounds for the decision was rubber stamped in red with "TOP SECRET" and "FOR LABOUR GROUP EYES ONLY" was because as soon as the expressions of interest were received they had already decided that the site was going to be a hotel. Then it's just a matter of "which hote?" during the tender process, and then making the criterea fit the decision. They would not want to jeopardize that decision when they could see that the Airspeed YAM was gaining public interest. Guthred

6:07pm Wed 8 Jan 14

chelk says...

I keep saying you cannot believe a word this Council says remember that at election time. The Muppet Show continues
I keep saying you cannot believe a word this Council says remember that at election time. The Muppet Show continues chelk

7:08pm Wed 8 Jan 14

Saracen says...

We now know that different criteria is being used for different sites - if you shift the weighting you dictate what wins - that's so scurilous. The Council go on about housing, yet one of the only bids which includes housing (the Airspeed scheme) has not been included. We know that the criteria for this site alone weighs heavily in simply obtaining money (40% of the criteria) and has no housing or heritage criteria at all. This is not democracy it's autocracy. For a City Centre site this is disgraceful and simple short sightedness.
We now know that different criteria is being used for different sites - if you shift the weighting you dictate what wins - that's so scurilous. The Council go on about housing, yet one of the only bids which includes housing (the Airspeed scheme) has not been included. We know that the criteria for this site alone weighs heavily in simply obtaining money (40% of the criteria) and has no housing or heritage criteria at all. This is not democracy it's autocracy. For a City Centre site this is disgraceful and simple short sightedness. Saracen

7:10pm Wed 8 Jan 14

Saracen says...

lifes2 wrote:
Knock it down, I for one won't care. Why after all these years argue about some tin shack, that up until recently has been ignored ? it's odd isn't it that suddenly sites which have been largely ignored by YC and left to rot are suddenly in the spotlight for development, or have been identified as of historic interest. How about focusing on the eye sore which is the Barbican ?Historically a grade two listed eye sore, which could be sold to the highest bidder on the basis that the council '' need to get on with this.”
The YAM plan was prepared and put before the Council in 2006 and several times thereafter
[quote][p][bold]lifes2[/bold] wrote: Knock it down, I for one won't care. Why after all these years argue about some tin shack, that up until recently has been ignored ? it's odd isn't it that suddenly sites which have been largely ignored by YC and left to rot are suddenly in the spotlight for development, or have been identified as of historic interest. How about focusing on the eye sore which is the Barbican ?Historically a grade two listed eye sore, which could be sold to the highest bidder on the basis that the council '' need to get on with this.”[/p][/quote]The YAM plan was prepared and put before the Council in 2006 and several times thereafter Saracen

8:42pm Wed 8 Jan 14

Guthred says...

Saracen wrote:
We now know that different criteria is being used for different sites - if you shift the weighting you dictate what wins - that's so scurilous. The Council go on about housing, yet one of the only bids which includes housing (the Airspeed scheme) has not been included. We know that the criteria for this site alone weighs heavily in simply obtaining money (40% of the criteria) and has no housing or heritage criteria at all. This is not democracy it's autocracy. For a City Centre site this is disgraceful and simple short sightedness.
Is the criterea not published within the tender application? It would be interesting to see how the tender framework was presented to the interested parties.
[quote][p][bold]Saracen[/bold] wrote: We now know that different criteria is being used for different sites - if you shift the weighting you dictate what wins - that's so scurilous. The Council go on about housing, yet one of the only bids which includes housing (the Airspeed scheme) has not been included. We know that the criteria for this site alone weighs heavily in simply obtaining money (40% of the criteria) and has no housing or heritage criteria at all. This is not democracy it's autocracy. For a City Centre site this is disgraceful and simple short sightedness.[/p][/quote]Is the criterea not published within the tender application? It would be interesting to see how the tender framework was presented to the interested parties. Guthred

10:21pm Wed 8 Jan 14

www.yorkstories.co.uk says...

Matt_S wrote:
Dave Taylor wrote:
Matt_S: The Airspeed Museum proposal did contain elements of housing in it, which would fund the proposal and make it financially viable. The hotel proposals did not. This is how it could've been: http://yorkstories.c


o.uk/buildings/plans


-for-airspeed-a-1930


s-adventure/
How much housing are we talking about? The pdf from that webpage is no longer available.
You're right Matt_S, the link to the PDF had become unlinked, sorry about that, is now fixed. Though the PDF was put online in 2011 and is only about the Airspeed part, so it doesn't answer your question about the housing.
[quote][p][bold]Matt_S[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Dave Taylor[/bold] wrote: Matt_S: The Airspeed Museum proposal did contain elements of housing in it, which would fund the proposal and make it financially viable. The hotel proposals did not. This is how it could've been: http://yorkstories.c o.uk/buildings/plans -for-airspeed-a-1930 s-adventure/[/p][/quote]How much housing are we talking about? The pdf from that webpage is no longer available.[/p][/quote]You're right Matt_S, the link to the PDF had become unlinked, sorry about that, is now fixed. Though the PDF was put online in 2011 and is only about the Airspeed part, so it doesn't answer your question about the housing. www.yorkstories.co.uk

12:29am Thu 9 Jan 14

Steve, says...

long distance depressive wrote:
Is there an official name for this hotel fetish that Alexander has?
What happened to the supposed Hotel that the Brtish Gas site was earmarked for, next to Netto/ASDA?

That seems to have fallen apart halfway through
[quote][p][bold]long distance depressive[/bold] wrote: Is there an official name for this hotel fetish that Alexander has?[/p][/quote]What happened to the supposed Hotel that the Brtish Gas site was earmarked for, next to Netto/ASDA? That seems to have fallen apart halfway through Steve,

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