A BITTER row has blown up over plans for the future of The Bonding Warehouse in York.

According to a city business leader, businessman Marti Dix's plans to turn The Bonding Warehouse into a boutique shopping mall are "seriously flawed".

Adam Sinclair, chairman of York Business Pride, said the warehouse was difficult to access and too far away from the city centre to be a viable retail proposition.

The debate on the future of the dilapidated riverside building was sparked by hospitality entrepreneur David Hattersley after he unveiled his scheme to turn it into York's first five-star hotel.

Then businessman Marti Dix revealed he would like to turn the warehouse into the city's latest shopping centre.

But it would struggle in that location says Mr Sinclair, managing director of china and crystal store Mulberry Hall in Stonegate.

"Any aspirations for it to become a shopping location are seriously flawed," he said. "It has no connectivity to the city centre and would not, of itself, be able to attract sufficient footfall."

Mr Sinclair said there was a much more suitable role for The Bonding Warehouse. "My strong view is that this location can satisfy York's demand for a river-fronted, high-class hotel."

Mr Hattersley welcomed Mr Sinclair's intervention.

"York's got enough retail space, but it's seriously lacking in very good quality hotels. Hotels are mainly pre-booked destinations," he said.

"I would be concerned about the location of The Bonding Warehouse for retail. It all sounds like a load of old hippy rubbish to me. Who's going to walk down there to shop? It would go pop faster than I could say Woodstock.

"We're talking a serious multi-million pound investment here and proper jobs. Wealthy foreign visitors don't stay in York because there's no five-star hotel and that's a fact.

"York's a world-class city and needs world-class facilities."

The hotel scheme would create 200 jobs.

Last month, The Press reported on Mr Dix's ambitious £3 million plans to turn The Bonding Warehouse into York's version of Leeds' successful Corn Exchange.

Mr Dix put Mr Hattersley's outburst down to a case of "the jitters".

He said: "Mr Hattersley knows my plans for an alternative shopping destination will win the hearts and minds of the people of York.

"By contrast, the extortionate rates of his yuppie playpen would mean York's average citizen would never reap any benefit or enjoyment from the building."

Mr Dix also dismissed Mr Sinclair's claims that The Bonding Warehouse was too far out of town for retail.

He said: "The Bonding Warehouse holds the potential for up to 60 individual units catering for a whole spectrum of tastes and interests not yet widely catered for elsewhere in the city.

"An alternative shopping destination could create hundreds of jobs and business opportunities for local people, provide a real alternative to big high street chains and keep an historically significant landmark open to the public."