Updated: PART of York’s rail heritage is set to become the city’s new council headquarters after the creation of a state-of-the-art civic base won the go-ahead.

City of York Council’s planning committee last night unanimously approved transforming West Offices, formerly York’s first railway station, into a £43.8 million home for 1,400 staff and the authority’s customer centre.

The project was drawn up after the council’s original proposals for a purpose-built HQ at Hungate were ditched, and work on the listed Station Rise building, which should start later this year provided the Government rubber-stamps plans for the roof design and the relocation of its historic canopy, is scheduled for completion in late 2012.

York Investors LLP, which devised the West Offices scheme, also saw its plans for an adjacent £10 million, 120-bed hotel in Toft Green approved last night, subject to conditions about its design being met following further discussions with planning chiefs.

“Together these schemes will revitalise this area of the city,” said a York Investors spokesman.

“We’ve been delighted to have the backing of English Heritage and York Civic Trust for our West Offices scheme. We now have to await the Secretary of State’s approval once he has considered an objection by the Victorian Society.

“This will delay our plans by at least a month, but we are optimistic the scheme will get the go-ahead and we can set about building a fitting new HQ and customer centre of which the whole city can be proud.”

The company says it is “in advanced negotiations with a leading international hotel operator” over the Toft Green development, which will create 100 construction jobs and 50 permanent jobs if the remaining design conditions are met.

Council leader Andrew Waller said: “Clearly this is a major boost for the headquarters project and shows all the work done with York Civic Trust and English Heritage has paid off.

“Developers starting work is the next step, but this means we are still on track to move in by the end of 2012. Business cases are indicating it is a far cheaper option then staying where we now are, so this is part of the efficiency drive of the council.”