A £25 MILLION new hotel in York’s Piccadilly could be put on hold amid concerns over proposals for a new street food and social enterprise hub in converted shipping containers nearby.

Northminster Ltd submitted plans for a 146-bed hotel and eight apartments in Piccadilly last month, following more than two years’ detailed discussions with City of York planners and English Heritage.

York Press:

But now managing director George Burgess says it may put its plans on ice over doubts that the Spark:York scheme for the former Reynards garage site on the other side of the road meets national planning policy guidelines for conservation areas.

He said the concept of Spark:York’s scheme to support business start-ups was laudable, but claimed it was ‘wholly inappropriate’ in a conservation area and at odds with the local authority’s wider aspirations for the regeneration of the ‘Castle Gateway’ to the city centre.

Spark:York’s plans, which have been submitted to the council, involve 15 converted shipping containers, arranged over two levels, on the former Reynards garage site on Piccadilly.

Mr Burgess said the land was owned by the council and had to be subjected to the same rigorous scrutiny under local and national planning policy as any development submitted for the historic part of the city.

“There are far better uses for this site in terms of architecture, job creation and income generation for the local authority and, in spite of the considerable investment we have made so far, we may place our hotel scheme on hold until the threat to this part of the city is removed with the rejection or relocation of the Spark:York scheme,” he warned.

He claimed cafes and licensed premises were well catered for in this part of the city and there appeared to be no firm plans to relocate businesses established at Spark:York development after three years.

“Without a replacement location, York will be under pressure to extend the temporary use of the Piccadilly site that could become permanent by default in spite of its unsuitability, he said. “There are more suitable sites within the city that could accommodate Spark:York, in a less sensitive location.”

He suggested a car park on the derelict site would provide a higher and more secure income for the council with far less conflict with existing residents and businesses and Spark:York was not the only option for the site.

“There is strong commercial interest for uses far better suited to national planning policy for conservation areas.”

Joe Gardham,a Spark:York director, said a legally binding lease for the site had been agreed with the council, under which it would be vacated by June 2020, and businesses moving on to it would be fully aware it was temporary.

He said he would expect that a bustling business selling foods would be welcomed by many hotel guests and there was a natural synergy between the two businesses.

He added that the two developments were both set to create about a hundred jobs, and it would be a shame if they could not both go ahead.