TOURISM and civic leaders have spoken of the “splendid opportunity” and potential provided by York’s Bonding Warehouse, following the collapse of latest plans to redevelop the riverside landmark.

The Press revealed last week that the Grade II listed building near Skeldergate Bridge had been repossessed and a firm of chartered surveyors appointed to handle the sale.

Surveyors Eddison said they were inviting offers in excess of £750,000 – £350,000 less than it went for in 2007 – and there was already interest from a range of potential buyers.

Sir Ron Cooke, chairman of York Civic Trust, said the building was important, not only because it was a partially and sensitively restored building with massive potential, but also because it was the last remaining major building available for redevelopment on the river’s western side.

“It offers a splendid opportunity,” he said.

Gillian Cruddas, chief executive of the tourism organisation Visit York, said she would be delighted to see a development which maximised the potential of the superb riverside location and appealed to both residents and visitors. “A quality restaurant, attraction or other kind of entertainment venue could all be options and we’re confident the right investor will be attracted to this prime site.”

Urban planning expert Professor Alan Simpson, who last year produced The New City Beautiful, the most important master plan for York since the 1960s, suggested the warehouse could be turned into a good-quality “interpretation centre” which could tell the story of York’s past and future.

His report said the Rivers Ouse and the Foss were unique parts of York’s heritage, but for too long the city had turned its back on them.

It envisaged changing all that by making the Ouse and the Foss key elements of the city centre, with new river frontages, open spaces and river walks. Prof Simpson suggested people should gather to discuss the future of the warehouse.

• What would you like to see happen to the Bonding Warehouse? Email or write to: Mike Laycock, The Press, 76 -86 Walmgate, York, YO1 9YN.

York Press: The Press - Comment

Bonding together

LAST week the Bonding Warehouse went back on the market.

It has for too long been a sad and sorry sight. So when news of its impending sale came through, we hoped someone might finally come up with the right idea for this important building.

One that would allow it to again work for the greater good of this city. It hasn’t taken long for ideas to come forward.

One reader suggests turning it into a badly needed facility for boaters. Urban planning expert Professor Alan Simpson, author of York master plan New City Beautiful, says it should be a centre to tell the story of York’s past and future, while others think it would make a great restaurant or entertainment venue.

Whatever idea triumphs, the real winners will be those of us in York when this beautiful listed building stops being an eyesore.

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