Plans have gone in to create more than 170 new homes in the former Terry’s chocolate factory in York.

Heritage developer the PJ Livesey Group is aiming to convert the landmark Grade II-listed factory building into 173 high-quality new homes, many overlooking York Racecourse and the Ouse.

The plans also include a retail unit on the ground floor and the historic formal gardens would be preserved and restored.

Terry’s was originally based in St Helen’s Square in the city centre and later sited by the Ouse at Clementhorpes. But by the early 20th century, the expanding business snapped up the Bishopthorpe Road site.

Work on the factory started in 1925 and took five years. In the early 20th century, the works were shared with other businesses such as Chivers Jams and Jablo (aircraft) Propellers.

An air raid shelter was built within the complex which was later used as the Nut and Fruit Store. Service tunnels below the factory were also used to protect employees from German bombs.

PJ Livesey director James Woodmansee said: “Only rarely do buildings of this significance and potential become available and we are very excited to be working with Henry Boot Developments, the site owners, to bring it back into use.

“We have vast experience of preserving and converting heritage assets such as this and delivering high quality projects that stand the test of time and which themselves become a legacy for the community.”

Ben Ward, director at Henry Boot Developments, said the aim was to preserve the buildings for future generations.

He said: “Since we purchased the former Terry’s site we have been working with partners to bring forward viable, quality development proposals.

“We are making progress on high quality proposals for the remainder of the site, including the Clock Tower and the HQ Building in Bishopthorpe Road, and we hope to make further announcements shortly.”

The 14-acre site was acquired in April 2013 in partnership with David Wilson Homes, which also bought the adjoining 13.5 acres.

The site is located immediately adjacent to York Racecourse, south of the city.

The Manchester-based PJ Livesey Group has more than 35 years’ experience working with heritage experts to convert listed buildings and bring them back into into use for the benefit of the wider community.