WORK has got under way on a new £5 million scheme which will breathe new life into part of the historic heart of York.

Moves to demolish Stonegate Walk - the L-shaped arcade of 23 shops linked by alleyways to Stonegate and Blake Street - began yesterday.

Housebuilder Bellway has teamed up with the site's owners, Oakgate Plc, to create Stonegate Court - three large retail units totalling 15,000 sq ft of space, with 18 luxury apartments above.

The one and two-bedroom apartments will be built on multiple, staggered levels, with balconies and terraces overlooking central courtyards and gardens. Many of the apartments will enjoy views of the Minster.

Tony Watling, managing director of Bellway, Yorkshire, said: "Stonegate Court promises to be one of our most outstanding developments, and from our initial interest we expect it to be a huge success.

"The development's architecture is excellent. It is designed to deliver a unique lifestyle for residents, while being sensitive to its important position. It is a real privilege for Bellway to build in such an outstanding location and we've ensured our design will deliver a quality of living that matches the status of the Stonegate site."

Pictured: Representatives from the three firms involved in the Stonegate Walk redevelopment project in York meet in the middle of the empty shops. They are Tony Watling, left, managing director of Bellway Homes, Alison Stewart, of the Oakgate Group plc, Stewart Tilley, of the Kier Group, and Tony Paler, sales director for Bellway Homes

Updated: 10:38 Saturday, March 02, 2002