HOPES that a notorious York eyesore was finally to be renovated were dashed, when it emerged that work on the site was merely general maintenance.

Workmen were spotted by scores of shoppers at the White Swan Hotel in Piccadilly, yesterday, carrying out repairs to the building's floor.

But any optimism that the property was set for a long-awaited restoration was misplaced. The workers were simply replacing rotten floorboards to prevent them collapsing.

The dilapidated property's managing agent, CB Richard Ellis, called in workmen to carry out the essential repairs, to stop the problem getting worse.

Geoff Lister of Greenwoods, who contracted Yorkshire Damp to do the work, said: "All we are doing is treating the dry rot so that it does not spread throughout the building.

"There's nothing larger planned for the site at the moment. I think the owner has been considering refurbishing the shop units in the future."

A Yorkshire Damp spokeswoman said: "We were just asked to do some general damp and timber work in the floors. I'm not sure how long we will be there."

Earlier this month, The Press reported calls for City of York Council to use Government legislation to improve the property.

Brian McCusker, of Hartoft Street, York, wrote to The Press, arguing that the council should invoke Section 215 of the 1990 Town and Country Planning Act.

The clause enables councils to crack down on the owners of buildings that harm the appearance of an area by forcing them to carry out repairs.

The mock Tudor White Swan Hotel is believed to be worth more than £2 million, but has not been used commercially since it closed in 1982.

In May 2003, more than 30 squatters took control of the former 50-room hotel, nightclub and restaurant and began guided tours and art exhibitions. They were evicted after two months.

The building, declared unfit for habitation in 1992, topped a poll as the city's biggest eyesore seven years ago in a Proud To Be York campaign run by The Press.