A FORMER aircraft factory in the centre of York is likely to become a four-star hotel, the city’s council leader has said.

Reynard’s Garage in Piccadilly has been put up for sale by City of York Council as part of moves to regenerate the area.

Nine bids haved been received, including a scheme involving the Yorkshire Air Museum which would see the site commemorate York’s aviation history.

However, the authority’s leader, Coun James Alexander, said there had been “significant” interest in the building from hotel chains, although a final decision had yet to be made and the bids were now being assessed.

He said: “The Reynard’s Garage site is likely to become a four-star hotel with business conferencing facilities”.

York-based Northminster Ltd, supported by the air museum, has unveiled proposals to use part of the site to tell the story of aircraft and glider factory Airspeed Ltd, which was based there, through an attraction called the Airspeed 1930s Experience.

The firm was founded by aviation engineer Nevil Shute Norway – the author Nevil Shute – and designed and built many types of aircraft during the Second World War, but moved to Portsmouth in 1933 due to lack of space to expand in York.

The scheme would also include a housing development. Museum director Ian Reed said: “It is entirely the council’s decision, but the advantages of the Airspeed scheme are that it would be no threat to existing businesses, which are under extreme pressure to survive in the city.

“It would provide a focal point for visitors and the public and long-term benefits for the city as a whole. Our bid would be a significant part of a larger regeneration for this area as a whole, not simply invigorating this one building, and since the scheme was announced we have been overwhelmed by support from the public, civic leader and council representatives from all parties.”