PLANS to build more than 350 student flats and apartments on the site of The Press offices in Walmgate have been announced.

The scheme would see newspaper staff moving to modern, smaller offices fronting on to Walmgate and Hurst’s Yard.

Student Castle, which would own and operate the accommodation, would build a management suite, reception and student common room on the rest of the Walmgate frontage.

A new archway would be created where the existing archway sits, providing access for students to residential accommodation around a courtyard and backing onto the River Foss.

York-based S Harrison Developments Ltd is asking local residents to comment before submitting a final proposal to City of York Council. The firm said it would bring a £35 million boost to the local economy, creating around 200 construction jobs over the next two years and 20 new permanent jobs when completed.

Design manager Chris Hale said an underutilised brownfield site would be redeveloped to deliver much-needed accommodation for the city’s growing student population, from both universities.

“This is not a speculative proposal,” he said. “If the plans are approved, the scheme will happen... This represents a major vote of confidence in the city and a real boost to the local economy in tough times.”

David Coates, regional managing director of Newsquest Yorkshire and North East, said the current Press complex was built in 1989 to house then state-of-the-art printing technology, but printing had changed radically and, since moving print production out of the city, much of the site had remained underused.

“This is a situation which cannot continue,” he said. “As York’s local newspaper, we are absolutely committed to maintaining our operation within the city walls and this scheme enables us to keep our journalist, sales and management teams here cost-effectively.”

If the plans go ahead, work will start later this year and be completed in time for the new student intake in September 2015

Council leader James Alexander welcomed the news, saying students made an invaluable contribution to the city’s cultural and economic vibrancy and such developments helped ensure family housing in York remained true to its original purpose.

The plans will be on show between 1pm and 7.30pm next Monday at the National Centre for Early Music in Walmgate, with the design and development team on hand to answer questions.