A QUESTION mark is hanging over one of York’s biggest developments, after the site’s owners put it up for sale.

Grantside, the York-based developers of the former Terry’s chocolate factory, have revealed their bank has suggested they put 27 of the site’s 33 acres on the market.

The £165 million scheme has been dogged by delays since it was given planning permission by City of York Council in 2010.

The plan was to create hundreds of homes, two hotels, shops, bars and restaurants, as well as 2,700 new jobs. Demolition work on the site began a fortnight ago and was expected to pave the way for the first wave of development.

Grantside managing director Steve Davis told The Press last week that he planned to sell a chunk of the site which was earmarked for residential use.

He has now confirmed the majority of the site is also up for sale as his firm looks for the “best option” and invites offers.

He said: “GHT Developments LLP (Grantside) is really looking at options at the moment, but if somebody came in with a bid for the whole site, it is something we would be looking at seriously.

“This is a massive site and everybody had different ideas for it. It could be that somebody else has plans we have not thought of.

“We are looking at the best option for us.”

The potential sale of the site is being handled by York property firm Savills, which is marketing it as “an iconic mixed-use development opportunity”.

Yesterday afternoon, signs advertising the sale were put up at the former Bishopthorpe Road factory, which closed in 2005.

It is understood that Savills will start distributing tender packs to potential buyers from Monday.

Council leader James Alexander last night remained optimistic about the future of the Terry’s site, saying the latest twist could kick-start its transformation.

“A decision to sell the site means a development coming forward sooner rather than later and this is good news for the city,” he said.

“There is still a market for sites like Terry’s. The site has planning permission and whoever buys it will want to develop it quickly.”

He said the council wanted to see the site developed “as soon as possible”. Tory leader Ian Gillies said: “The bottom line is that we need to get this site developed by a reputable company that can develop what we had envisaged for the future of York.

"It doesn’t matter the name of the developer – what matters is the site and plans are done to a standard we would all expect.”

Grantside, which is based at Holgate Park, bought the Terry’s site in 2006 for £26 million. Planning approval was given for Grantside’s scheme two years ago,18 months after the council had controversially rejected the company’s original proposals.

The council’s planning officers had backed the development, saying it was “one of the largest and most important regeneration opportunities” in York’s recent history, but councillors voted against the plan.