YORK’S former Blue Bicycle restaurant will finally reopen in the New Year under a new owner and a new name - more than four years after being devastated by flooding.

The landmark building in Fossgate is to become The Blue Barbakan, and will be run by Anna Witczak, who has run the successful Barbakan restaurant in nearby Walmgate for the past decade.

Andrew Hedley, of Blacks Property Consultants, which handled the letting, said at least a dozen businesspeople had looked at the premises but his client was impressed with Anna’s success story to date and her potential for an even bigger success there.

Anna said her new restaurant would have seating for 100 diners, almost double her current 54-cover restaurant.

She said the Barbakan, which will close on December 31, had an average of 1,000 customers a week, and was frequently full on Friday and Saturday nights, and so she had jumped at the opportunity to expand into larger premises.

She said she had thought long and hard about what to call the new restaurant and had decided on The Blue Barbakan in recognition of the previous business.

Anna said the building, which has undergone extensive and complex repairs on its lower floors since being flooded by the adjacent River Foss in December 2015, was in a good condition and she hoped to open on January 23 after a redecoration.

She revealed that she was not leaving her old premises in Walmgate, which she originally opened as a deli about 12 years ago, but planned to open an ice cream parlour and patisserie there in March, called Two Cherries.

The award-winning Blue Bicycle, the cellar of which was a ‘brothel of some repute’ at the turn of the 20th century, was one of numerous properties in Walmgate and Fossgate to be inundated just after Christmas in 2015 when the Foss Flood Barrier and Pumping Station - at the confluence of the Foss and the Ouse - was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of water coming down the Foss, following heavy rainfall.

Most other businesses re-opened within a year following repairs, but the Blue Bicycle was beset by serious structural problems and the dining area remained frozen in time, with Christmas decorations remaining stuck on the windows for years. Pontoons eventually had to be created in the Foss to allow for repairs to take place.

Mr Hedley has said previously that Fossgate has developed into the city’s best-known restaurant quarter, with the Blue Bicycle arguably enjoying pole position.