DEVELOPERS have bought one of York’s long-empty former confectionery factory buildings and look set to turn it into flats.

An early stage planning application has appeared for part of the Nestlé South site - including parts of the old Rowntree factory buildings - and Nestlé have confirmed they have sold the site.

A spokesman said: “We are pleased to have reached an agreement for the sale of our former factory building and surrounding land on the South side of our Haxby Road site in York.

"This forms part of our long-term redevelopment plans for the site and, in Newby, we have found a buyer who will give this building a new lease of life in keeping with its history and surroundings.”

York Press:

An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) screening opinion application submitted in September - a standard part of the planning process for large projects- asked planners whether they needed a full EIA for their plans - for 283 apartments in the converted Almond and Cream buildings, which face onto Haxby Road opposite the Joseph Rowntree Theatre.

Planners say the EIA is not needed, and the door is now open for a full application for the proposals.

Cllr Ian Gillies, the executive member for planning in York, said with a site like Nestlé’s which had been empty for so long, the council had to keep an open mind.

“It is a very desirable location, so any plans that come forward will have to be considered.”

York Press:

Workers piping chocolates in the Rowntree factory in the 1930s

Guildhall ward councillor Denise Craghill said many residents would be pleased to see the buildings developed and preserved, but added there were bound to be concerns about the traffic impact of such a large development.

The city council’s assistant director for planning Mike Slater added: “The original masterplan from 2010 included the retention and re-use of the multi-storey factory building for mainly residential purposes.

York Press:

“This request for an Environmental Impact Assessment screening opinion demonstrates developer interest in converting of this building to residential use.”

They are currently in talks about the redevelopment and regeneration of the “large and important” brownfield site, he added.

In 2011, Nestlé launched to investors its plans for what it called the Cocoa Works site.

At the time, The Press reported those plans were for 166 family homes, 46 apartments, a 55-unit assisted living development, a 100-bed student accommodation unit, eight live/work units, 104,000 sq ft of office accommodation, 10,000 sq ft of retail space, as well as a community centre/gym/creche, community café and the listed Rowntree Memorial Library.