York people are giving their views on what should be done with Terry's. STEPHEN LEWIS reports.

A HOTEL, a hospital, an ambulance HQ, a police station, a complementary health centre and a prestige office development - these are some of the ideas for the future of Terry's suggested by York residents.

More than 100 people attended a drop-in session at St Chad's church hall in York on Tuesday to make their views known as the consultation on the factory's future went into full swing.

Many completed forms on the spot. Others are expected to send their views in later.

Their suggestions - which are varied, imaginative and often contradictory - reflect a range of views, but also the esteem and affection in which the famous old factory is held.

Some want the site to be used for affordable homes - others are against that, pointing out South Bank already has too much traffic.

Some are in favour of a luxury hotel or a heritage attraction - others think such uses are more appropriate for the centre of York, and Terry's should provide jobs or office accommodation.

Here we print a few of the suggestions made. But don't forget - you have until December 16 to make your own voice heard.

What you think Terry's should be used for...

"Keep the main clock tower. A hotel for the main factory building, with the office block on the main road to stay as offices. Affordable houses for York residents only, and sports and leisure facilities if there is room."

"It would be great for the development to have a community focus that would also have a commercial benefit. Leisure facilities could be doubled with a heritage site that generated income, such as Salts Mill at Saltaire."

"I would like... a complementary health centre. Mixed use is essential, with an emphasis on community needs. Proposals should be energy efficient."

"Traffic is a major consideration. South Bank is already high density in terms of housing/population. So although some houses would be OK, lots of flats would be less desirable. No large retail or business park, please! Arrange it so that we have gradual development between the city and the green belt."

"A high-quality hotel here would close a lot of B&Bs in South Bank. Tourism and leisure use would not benefit South Bank as tourism works best in the centre of York. There are already many empty flats in new developments, so more flats would be a stupid idea."

"Keep the heritage side of the factory for future generations to see how people worked there. Why can't we have a beautiful garden, some fountains and trees and seats, and perhaps a pond? It would also make a good police station - we might all feel a bit safer."

"Retain the architecture and the landmark buildings, not more housing development."

"Sustainable employment for the local community. Some leisure facilities would be nice. The listed building would make a beautiful hotel/conference facility."

"Bring work to the area: hotels and workshops. Also bring social events to the area - for example, a community hall to stage events to help the South Bank community. There could be a gym, more outdoor activities in the grounds, or an open garden."

"Please, please, don't take the office part away - particularly the doors. I worked at the firm for many years. I am a pensioner, I just loved walking through the doors, and look back at them with pride."

"It could be converted to a first-class hotel, or an ambulance depot or fire brigade depot. It should be of use to the citizens, not just more flats, which are spoiling York."

"Retain all the listed buildings. Do not allow development of the green open space. This could be used for recreational sports facilities, ie football, hockey, rugby. The existing car park should be utilised for houses."

"Maintain the integrity of the site so it has some coherent function and is not divided into a hotchpotch of disparate units."

"It should be used to make jobs for people like me who worked at Terry's and need a job close to my child's school."

"It is a perfect site for a new hospital or... a Newmarket-style stud and breeders."

"Is there any need for further major office development? I agree there is a need for affordable/first-time housing - but not for the whole site. It needs to be a mixture of developments that are sustainable for the future and from which people can benefit."

"A medical centre: it would save hours for South Bank people. Also a hotel for the racecourse, and shops."

"I would like to see it used for Science City York accommod-ation: an HQ, offices, production and warehouses, and employment uses."

"Could the riverside car park be sold for housing and the revenue used to subsidise low-cost building units? A hotel might suit part of the site. 'Green' energy technology should be used for the site."

What the experts think

YORK Civic Trust, in its 2004/2005 annual report, welcomes the fact that as of March this year, a number of buildings on the Terry's site are now Grade II listed. These include:

The head office building

The liquor factory

The clock tower with its clock faces bearing the letters TERRY YORK instead of numbers (and which, according to the city council, is "one of the very few remaining example of Gent's Waiting Train turret clock system still working in a major building in the UK")

The factory building

The Time Office building.

The formal listing of these buildings should not necessarily be a bar to all future change, the Trust says. "But alterations which would affect their character as buildings of special architectural or historic interest would require 'listed building consent' and this reflects the importance to society of protecting such buildings from unnecessary demolition or unsuitable or insensitive alterations."

So what might be appropriate uses?

Andrew Hedley, of estate agents Alan Black, says if it was left up to market forces alone, the whole site would be snapped up for housing, since that's where the money is to be made.

The development brief may not favour all housing, however.

Mr Hedley isn't sure about a hotel - big hotels like to be on main roads, he says, and a few race meets a year wouldn't provide enough of a clientele. The site would, however, make an ideal prestige HQ for a major national company in landscaped surroundings. Mr Hedley believes there would be a lot of interest in that: companies have been crying out for just such an opportunity in York for years, he says.

Alison Sinclair, chair of the York Open Planning Forum, feels the main office building would make an excellent hotel. "I believe there are some great fittings left inside." The empty factory buildings, meanwhile, would be ideal for flats, she says. "I would rather see that than some of the other horrible blocks of flats going up all over the place."

The draft planning brief

The draft planning brief, for which York people are being asked to give their views suggests a number of potential uses which would be appropriate for the Terry's site. These include:

Prestige offices for a major company or organisation

A base for hi-tech Science City businesses and industries, such as food technology (which could make use of existing facilities, research and education, and office space for small start-up firms)

Production and warehousing

Hotel and conference facilities

Leisure facilities, both to complement the racecourse and a possible hotel, and also for local use

Community facilities such as child day care, a medical centre and sports facilities


Heritage or tourist attraction

Having your voice heard

YORK residents have until December 16 to air their views on the city council's draft development brief.

Derek Gauld, York council's principal city development officer, says those who care about Terry's should make the effort to have their say. All comments will be taken into account when drawing up the development brief early next year - a document that will act as a blueprint for potential developers.

Since this blueprint will have been widely consulted on, and approved by councillors, it will carry real weight, Mr Gauld says.

The St Chad's drop-in session on Tuesday was one of a number of events aimed at giving local people the chance to have their say.

Forms have been sent to more than 2,000 homes in the South Bank area inviting their views. There will be a York Open Planning Forum meeting at the central Methodist Church in St Saviourgate at 7.30pm next Wednesday devoted to discussing the future of the site for those who missed this week's drop-in session. Youngsters at Knavesmire Primary School will be having their say on December 5.

Copies of the draft development brief are available in all York libraries or in reception at 9 St Leonard's Place, and you can also make your views known by:

Writing to City Development Team, Former Terry's Factory Draft Development Brief, City of York Council, 9 St Leonard's Place, York YO1 7ET

Emailing terrys@york.gov.uk

Phoning Ewan Taylor, city development officer, on 01904 551408.

Updated: 10:34 Friday, November 25, 2005