A NEW student community could be created as plans are unveiled to redevelop York's former Mecca bingo hall.

Proposals include demolishing the existing building in Fishergate and replacing it with accommodation allowing for about 280 student bedrooms, landscaping and bicycle parking.

Olympian Homes is behind the venture, working with the site owners - York developers Grantside and North Star - following the closure of the bingo club in March.

York Press:

An impression of what the former Mecca building would look like as student accommodation, if plans are approved.

George Downes, from Olympian Homes, said there was strong demand for student accommodation in the city, and a lack of supply.

A consultation has now been launched, with residents asked to comment on the redevelopment plans at www.rialtohouse.co.uk

A planning application will then be submitted to City of York Council.

To celebrate the site's previous heritage, the new building would be called Rialto House after the cinema and venue which was once stood there.

In its heyday, the art deco Rialto venue which dated from the 1930s hosted stars such as the The Beatles, Cilla Black and Mick Jagger in the 1960s.

York Press:

Mick Jagger reading York music magazine Ouse Beat at the Rialto in 1964

It was knocked down to make way for the bingo hall which opened in 2003.

Leading architect GWP Architecture has designed the building, referencing local architectural features and materials as part of the design.

George Downes said: “We would encourage as many people as possible to take part in the consultation and let us know what they think about our plans.

“Our aim is to replace this unattractive building with a high-quality, sustainable, new development that fits in with its surroundings.

“Despite recent approvals and progress of other student accommodation in the city, there is still strong demand and a lack of supply in the city."

He added: "Developing purpose-built accommodation will release pressure on family housing by freeing up existing homes in York.”

Founded in 1993, Olympian Homes has a successful track record in delivering high-quality, student, mixed-use and residential developments across the country, including various projects in Yorkshire.

A recently published report by the Citizens Advice York and University of York Students Union highlighted the fact that poor quality student accommodation and management harmed the mental and physical health of students.

A statement from the developers highlighted that there are currently around 27,000 registered students in full-time education from the city’s two universities and just over 10,000 purpose-built student bedrooms.

They say there are also fewer than 700 in the pipeline, either being built or with planning permission.

Recent construction work in the site car park uncovered an art deco style floor, linked to the former Rialto.

York Press:

North Star and Grantside are two leading York property companies, which bought the Mecca site for an undisclosed sum earlier this year, following their joint acquisition of the former Kuda nightclub site.