A DERELICT car park in York could be transformed into a new hotel after plans for the eco-friendly development were unveiled.

York-based Helmsley Group has lodged a planning application for a 99-room hotel on the Mill House car park site, off North Street, boasting sustainable features such as solar PV and a biodiverse green wall.

It is believed to be the first hotel proposal in the country to generate net zero carbon emissions. This means that, during construction, the greenest alternatives to traditional construction will be used to achieve a BREEAM Excellent building.

The carbon output from construction will be minimised where possible. The estimated carbon emissions saved following the hotel’s completion will be 226 tonnes, the equivalent of the annual emissions of 170 UK households.

The hotel will be aimed at business and tourism visitors, and will also kick-start work upgrading public spaces and landscaping nearby.

Max Reeves, development director at Helmsley Group, the commercial property syndication, development finance and property development company, said: “Helmsley Group is excited about the opportunity to enhance an underutilised space and create a building of architectural and environmental high standards that will make a positive contribution to the surrounding area and wider city economy.

“The proposed hotel will have no on-site food or beverage facilities meaning all guests will spend their money at the fantastic variety of hospitality and leisure locations York has to offer, helping to support city centre businesses at a time when they need it most.”

Fiona Lomas is a senior consultant of sustainability at planning and development consultancy Turley, which is supporting Helmsley Group with the application.

She said: “In line with the UK Green Building Council Net Zero Carbon Framework, the development will offset its construction carbon and is reducing operational emissions by almost 50 per cent using the latest carbon factors.

"Remaining operational energy demands can be met using appropriate off-site renewable energy supplies procured by the operator so that the development achieves net zero carbon in operation.

“The proposed design includes various sustainable features such as solar PV, air source heat pumps and a biodiverse green wall.

"Whilst the hotel is targeting a BREEAM Excellent rating, it is predicted to meet BREEAM Outstanding mandatory requirements for both energy and water.

"No car parking spaces will be provided to further reduce carbon emissions and minimise local air quality impacts and to reflect York’s aspiration to become the UK’s first car-free city centre.”

Mr Reeves added: “As an organisation we are passionate about doing what we can to help the environment and the positive sustainable impact of this development is of the most upmost importance to us.

"This scheme has been a long time in the design process, resulting in a building we feel suits its setting while remaining visually unobtrusive on this tucked away piece of derelict land.”