THE long-term future of a popular street food and drinks venue in York city centre has been thrown in to doubt.

City of York Council want to build affordable housing on the site that currently houses Spark:York and a lease renegotiation is set to be discussed at the council's executive next week.

The venue, created out of shipping containers in Piccadilly, was originally given permission by the council to remain in place for three years until 2020.

It was then given a two year extension to remain there until the end of this month.

And, as The Press reported last month, directors applied to the landowners, City of York Council, for the permission to be extended again, until September 2025.

But, at a meeting of City of York Council's executive next week, councillors will consider a proposal to grant a new lease that could allow affordable housing to be built on the prime city centre site.

Under the plans, the executive will be asked to further extend Spark: York’s lease for two years and seven months from April 1, but this will be subject to a landlord break option, entitling the council to exercise a break after seven months of the new agreement, with a further 12 month’s notice. The earliest date by which the lease could be terminated and the site vacated would therefore be November 1 next year.

In return for being granted a further lease, the council say Spark has agreed that the rental payable will be the greater of either a revised base rent of £25,000 or £13,333 plus 30 per cent of profits.

This will give rise to a substantial increase in the minimum rent, which is currently calculated on the basis of £13,333 plus 30 per cent of profits.

Spark currently has 18 tenants in units that comprise 12 food and drink businesses, nine retailers that share three retail spaces, the York Older People’s Assembly use a free office space, a bi-weekly food bank, and an aeroponics urban farm that we run in collaboration with the University of York.

Spark Studios has five permanent resident artists within our maker space, with over 100 individuals use the co-working space on a rotating basis and a community event space that hosts everything from fitness classes, baby and mum groups to art exhibitions. So far, 17 businesses have moved on to permanent premises since 2018.

Spark directors Sam Leach and Tom McKenzie said: "We have always been consistent in our position of wanting to continue operating in York as long as people feel that Spark is relevant and needed in our city.

"The main focus for us is to ensure a positive environment for our traders and the start-up businesses, community groups and many people that benefit from the venue every day.

"This offer from the City of York Council clearly serves them well in protecting their future options for the sale and permanent development of the site and we hope that they are working to guarantee that whatever comes next will be of real benefit to the people of York."

The executive will meet on to discuss the plans as part of a wider look at affordable housing in the city on Thursday (March 17) at 5.30pm.