PLANS are being drawn up to convert one of York's foremost independent hotels back into private houses.

Developers have applied for permission to convert the Newington Hotel, on Mount Vale Road near the Knavesmire, into seven houses, meaning the hotel could stop trading this summer.

Owner Mike Harrison, who runs the business with wife Linda and daughter Laura Scott, said the application was part their business planning for the future.

He added: "It's always better to go out on a high than a low, and I will be 65 in June.

"I have been the custodian of a heritage building for 15 years and we have operated through thick and thin."

If planners approve the redevelopment scheme, the hotel could close as soon as this July but any delays could put that back by up to 18 months, he added.

The hotel was built as three townhouses, with coach houses and outbuilding to the rear which now house extra hotel rooms. Planning documents show the developers want to convert the main hotel building into four townhouses, pull down a modern swimming pool building next to 147 Mount Vale, and put up a new townhouse on that plot.

Behind the main hotel buildings, the coach houses would then be converted into two houses making a total of seven homes on the site, along with garages and gardens.

John Reeves, of developers the Helmsley Group, said: "Everything eventually changes and the present owner is looking forward to a well-earned retirement after nearly 50 years in the hospitality business.

"Helmsley are looking to return the properties to their original uses - individual residencies, not apartments.The property was originally built as Newington Villas, being various large town houses with gardens and staff lodges to the rear.

"There is a golden opportunity to bring back their original splendour and use whilst removing the ugly modern, lower level, extension which presently houses the pool and balance out the Parade with a similar property."

Their plans are to separate the units into their individual original layouts and put in services, but to let the new owners to carry out their own internal refurbishments to their own standards.

Mr Harrison said: "It will be nice to see the building restored to its former glory as residences in a desirable part of town."

In 2014, the same developers took on the former Knavesmire Manor Hotel in Tadcaster Road, once the home of the Rowntree family, to return that to its original use as a private residence.