TALKS of moving the House of Lords northwards to York have been hailed a 'potential game-changer' for the city.

York would be taken seriously as a city "and not merely an historical bauble", said Andrew Digwood, president of the York and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce.

He said such a move would give renewed purpose to the long-anticipated York Central development, while others felt it could help narrow the North South divide, create jobs and potentially lead to improvements to the city's infrastructure.

The disused land near York Railway Station was identified as a potential location for the upper chamber after it was revealed at the weekend that the government was exploring whether to move the Lords in a bid to reconnect politics with voters outside London.

The Sunday Times reported that a decision would be determined as part of a constitutional review being launched in the spring.

Mr Digwood, who is also a partner at Rollits solicitors in York, said: "It would be - and is already, it seems - some great, unsolicited profile-raising for York as a city to be taken seriously, and not merely an historical bauble.

"It potentially represents a game-changing opportunity to secure both an “anchor tenancy” and a real renewed sense of purpose for York Central, which further enhances the sense that the critical mass of York need not always be confined by its walls."

He added: "It ought to be an opportunity for the city to say “yes, great, but what about....?” for example, overdue investment in transport infrastructure and the release of HIF funding for York Central. I was pleased to see Cllr Keith Aspden using the opportunity of York in the spotlight to make this point."

He added: "I would love such a relocation to be both a beacon for new inward investment AND an opportunity for existing York businesses to feel the benefits, being able to compete for related contracts on at least an equal footing with national competitors perhaps in existing government contract relationships.

"All of that said, I remain cautious and of the “believe it when I see it” mindset, but I think it’s safe to say the Chamber would be delighted to support such a move!"

Ben Pilgrim, director of York-based Royal Pilgrim Communications, said: “The prospect of moving the second Chamber to York could bring a host of benefits and boost the local economy immensely, as well as providing an anchor for the York Central site.

“As a company that specialises in communications in the property industry, we know that York is already an attractive destination for investment from local companies and from those across the UK.

"The positive sentiment that these plans could bring, will only increase this confidence and should also result in increased investment across the city. It’s a unique opportunity and one that, as a city, we should do everything we can to try and bring to fruition.

“It would certainly meet the aims of the council’s economic strategy of bringing high value jobs to York, as well as enormous benefits of raising the profile of the city globally.”

Simon Middleton, who champions and supports businesses in York as business growth manager with Make It York, agreed.

"It could be a game changer from an inward investment perspective, albeit (I hope) in a manner in which the businesses and people already here can benefit."

Carolyn Frank, development manager, North Yorkshire, for the Federation of Small Businesses, added: "Anything that makes policy-making closer to home for our local businesses may help to narrow the North-South divide."

David Kerfoot, Chair of York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership and Deputy Lord Lieutenant North Yorkshire, took to twitter following the revelation at the weekend.

"Simply could not stop thinking over weekend news that @UKHouseofLords may relocate to York which is incredible, however securing a devo deal must be the priority to secure real power in the region."

Toby Cockcroft, owner of York-based Croft Residential estate agency, said: "If the proposals to relocate the house of Lords to York become a reality it would certainly be a major coup for the city, as well as a bold statement from the government on their commitment to closing the economic divide between north and south.

“As an ancient capital of England and northern capital for the Church of England, York is the perfect setting for a relocated upper house. For the city itself, already celebrated worldwide for its minster, architecture and history, the move would raise its profile massively.

"The new jobs and investment in housing and infrastructure that would inevitably go hand in hand with an ‘up north Lords’ would be brilliant for York – and clearly signal that the government was taking its responsibilities to its new northern supporters seriously.”