NEGOTIATIONS have begun to sell the £135,000 per year lease of the former warehouse-sized shop which was occupied by Wickes, the building supplier, in Kettlestring Lane, Clifton Moor.

Agents Eric Young and Co report that talks have begun with an organisation which wants to occupy the massive 21,944 sq ft building which includes offices and 72 car spaces on the North York Trading Estate.

The building, owned by British Land, was vacated by Wickes when the DIY store moved to Clifton Moor retail park, opening a 35,390 sq ft store in Stirling Road, in September, 2003. Its 25-year lease at Kettlestring Lane was due to expire in March 2017.

Whoever takes on the lease can expect an annual rate bill of about £118,000, but that has not deterred bidders. A spokesperson for Eric Young & Co of Edinburgh said today: "There has been a lot of interest.

"Many have wanted to split up the premises into separate units but that needs the permission of British Land.

"Others have asked for its use as storage alone and that is a matter of obtaining planning consent. Planning is restricted to the sale of DIY goods and use as a builders merchant.

"But we have also had interest from those who would like to use the site as a whole and we are now in negotiations with one party for the whole premises, although for reasons of confidentiality we cannot divulge who it is."

Updated: 11:24 Tuesday, June 21, 2005