Owners of a city eyesore may be forced to sell it as the council considers legal action to smarten a York street corner.

Renewed calls are being made for something to be done about the White Swan building, in Piccadilly, with City of York Council considering taking out a compulsory purchase order.

The former hotel remains in the rundown state that has characterised it for more than ten years, leaving many to despair of this shabby corner of the city.

Linda Holmes, manageress at nearby Duttons for Buttons, said she was particularly concerned about the impact of the former hotel's appearance on visitors, as it was on a park and ride bus route aimed at serving the new and improved Jorvik Viking Centre.

She said: "York is such a beautiful city, but I come past the building on the park and ride and it looks so dismal.

"It dispels all the atmosphere of York. I'm more worried for the visitors coming in to York who must think 'what a tip'."

Ms Holmes added: "I can't get over it. There are a lot of people who think the same way, both in town and outside."

The building was identified as one of the city's worst buildings in last year's Horrible Eyesores of York competition in the Evening Press Turpin Rides Again column.

The Evening Press reported in December last year that good detective work by City of York Council officers had tracked down the owners of the building, namely the London-based Graham Family Settled Estates Limited.

The council wanted to press the case for the building to be converted into affordable city centre housing.

But a city council spokesman said today that the authority was still in talks with Graham Family Settled Estates Limited about the next step forward.

He said that a compulsory purchase order might have to be issued if no progress could be made.

"That's some way down the line," he said. "We still hope to find a suitable resolution for all parties."

A spokesman for agents acting on behalf of the owners said: "It is a matter for our clients and the council to discuss privately. I can make no further comment."

Updated: 08:54 Thursday, May 31, 2001