Former council HQ set for offices future

YORK’s GUILDHALL looks set to be transformed into office space, a restaurant and cafe.

The Guildhall, York
The Guildhall, York

The city’s council has been wrestling with the future of the building since it moved its administration to the West Offices two years ago.

Councillors will next week consider plans to transform the complex into serviced offices which, it is estimated, could add £66 million to the city’s economy by 2029.

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The proposals would also see the creation of a “premium restaurant” on the south side of the building and a cafe-bar overlooking a new riverside courtyard garden to the north.

In addition, the main hall and council chamber would be refurbished with the latter retained by the authority for meetings.

York Council leader Chris Steward said: “The Guildhall complex is one of York’s most iconic buildings so it’s vital that these proposals not only safeguard its long-term future but also maximise its economic use to give local businesses the kind of space they need to thrive.”

York Council’s executive will be asked next week to approve the appointment of a design team to draw up more detailed plans with a view to final approval next summer.

Work would be expected to start in mid-2017 and be completed by autumn 2018.

The new Conservative-Liberal Democrat administration ordered a review of the Guildhall plans when it took office earlier this year.

Options on the table included using part of the space for apartments a building a new annexe to the North.

The option recommended to be accepted by councillors next week is believed to offer the best financial returns while keeping the building in public use.

York Council has promised the public will have further opportunities to have their say on the building’s future as the development process is taken forward.