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Refurbishment planned for White Swan Hotel in Piccadilly, York
A LANDMARK building in York city centre looks set to be turned into shops and apartments after its owners abandoned demolition plans.
The Graham Family Trust said it intended to pursue a “heritage-driven refurbishment” of the White Swan Hotel, on the corner of Piccadilly and Coppergate.
The Trust said last year it was considering demolishing and rebuilding the hotel, which was built in 1912 but has been empty for the past 30 years.
Jason Garrett, who is representing the Trust, said it was still working to secure a future for the site but said it was no longer looking at demolition. He said there would be apartments on the upper floors and shops on the ground floor as at present, although more details should be released within weeks. Supermarket chain Waitrose is believed to have expressed an interest in one of the shop units.
Mr Garrett said: “We are working hard to try to get something that works effectively for us commercially and also for the city. It has not been forgotten, it is receiving careful consideration, and I hope to have something for public consultation within four weeks.”
He said the building, in its existing form, would not lend itself to hotel use and said apartments would be more appropriate, with shops below.
He said public opposition to demolition was a factor in the Trust’s decision but not the only one. After The Press revealed the original plans last October, many residents wrote to the newspaper’s letters page, arguing that the building should be kept.
Mr Garrett said: “The public response was considered, as was commercial viability, the end use, and city-centre planning schemes.
“There were a number of factors which pulled us away from a demolition scheme and moved us to a heritage-led refurbishment.”
Alison Sinclair, York conservation campaigner and former chair of the York Open Planning Forum, said: “I am delighted the owners of the White Swan listened to what local people were saying and have decided to keep the building. To restore it with shops on the ground floor and flats above is just the right thing to do and if heritage-led refurbishment means that any historic features inside are to be kept, so much the better.”
The White Swan is on the “local list” of interesting buildings and Ms Sinclair said the news showed the success of the list. She said: “I look forward to seeing fully restored to its former glory very soon.”