PROPERTY-HUNTERS could be about to put themselves on the right track to finding a new home – as developers aim to breathe new life into a York village landmark.

The owners of a disused signal box in Stockton-on-the-Forest have applied to convert it into a house and create an extension which gives a nod to its one-time role on the railways.

City of York Council will now be asked to run the rule over the proposals for the box in Sandy Lane, which have been submitted by York-based planning consultants Ward Associates.

The box once stood guard over a railway route linking York and Beverley and was part of the village’s station house, which has already been turned into a home following the closure of the line. Now the owners of the site – in whose back garden the signal box stands – want to transform it into a one-bedroom home complete with an extension modelled along the lines of a traditional railway carriage.

It is the second time such an application for the two-storey signal box, which is within York’s designated stretch of Green Belt land, has been made. A previous proposal was ultimately withdrawn following discussions. In a statement handed in to the authority, Ward Associates said the box was believed to have been designed by renowned architect George Townsend Andrews, who was noted for his designs of railway buildings and who drew up plans for a string of them along a line linking York and Market Weighton.

“Reusing the signal box as an independent dwelling could well act as an end use which would be more likely to secure its future than the current situation,” said the firm.

“A residential use would improve the condition and appearance of the existing signal box, especially when viewed from Sandy Lane and open green spaces to the north. As a part of the proposal, the box will be renovated to create the main living area. The design of the extension is inspired by the traditional railway carriage and aims to echo the railway history of the site and character of the signal box and the premises of the Old Station.

“The appearance of both the proposed extension and refurbishment of the signal box for residential purposes have been discussed and is considered to be appropriate to this site and location. It will make a positive contribution to the street scene as a whole.”

The consultants have also said “special circumstances” – which can be introduced to override planning policy – will not be needed despite the box being in the Green Belt.

Planners are expected to make a decision on the application in June.