A DERELICT working men's club which is to be turned into student accommodation in a £11.5 million scheme has already been visited by students.

However the visit from the University of York youngsters was not to pick out their future living quarters, but to assist with their archaeology studies by learning about how a historic building can be brought back to life.

Earlier this year, York based development company S Harrison secured planning permission to redevelop the Grade II listed former working men’s club and The Tam O’ Shanter public house in Lawrence Street.

The main building has stood empty for almost a decade and work will start next month on transforming it into a 115 bedroom student residence, complete with communal work space and leisure facilities.

In advance of work starting, archaeology students have visited the site and met representatives from S Harrison, CSP Architects, which is designing the scheme, as well as the conservation architect from City of York Council.

Chris Hale from S Harrison, said: "This is a complex project that will safeguard the future of a derelict listed building which is also a very important part of the city’s social history, as the family home of Samuel Tuke, the founder of modern mental healthcare reforms.

"It offers a wonderful insight into the practicalities, considerations and challenges involved in bringing such a building back into use.

"As a longstanding development company, we’re always keen to share our knowledge and expertise with the future talent of the industry and it’s really rewarding to see this development benefitting students now, 18 months before it will be ready for their peers to move into."

Claire Price, a lecturer on planning and conservation at the University of York, who also works as a listed buildings caseworker with the Council for British Archaeology, said: "All the students got a lot out of visiting this development; it was a good opportunity to see the theory, as they learn in lectures, put into practice on a live site and hear from a developer directly.

"It also highlighted many key considerations associated with such a project including listed building consent applications, condition surveys and historic building assessments, so it was very worthwhile."

The development is due to complete in time for the 2017 student intake.