Spark:York plans and the bright lights of Piccadilly

Image of proposed box park development

Plans for Spark:York at 17-21 Piccadilly, from the planning application documents

Planning application, Spark:York, at 17-21 Piccadilly

Some months back we looked at the initial proposals for Spark:York. The planning application for this has recently been submitted, and is open for comment:

17/00274/FUL | Erection of two storey multi unit mixed use development ….. Site Of 17 To 21 Piccadilly York

This is the project based around shipping containers, and making use of the now empty site where the old Airspeed factory/Reynard’s garage used to be.

It’s worth a look at the documents for the planning application. Have a read perhaps of the statement of community involvement (PDF on this link, or scroll down the list of documents on this link). It suggests an impressive level of engagement and a genuine approach to involving as many people as possible. I’ve read a lot of planning application documents in recent months/years and I don’t recall seeing that level of concern and involvement from property developers wanting to build hotels and apartment blocks.


Plans for Spark:York at 17-21 Piccadilly, from the planning application documents

As a result of public reaction to the initial publicity the ‘shipping container’ look seems to have been softened/obscured in these plans.

The proposal is a creative interpretation of the industrial past of the site but it has been designed to carefully balance this with the need not to unduly dominate the street scene. Following consultation with local residents and interested groups, it has been decided to add a soft timber cladding to the exterior of the containers along the site frontage. This high quality finish will soften the industrial nature of the containers and it is not considered to harm the character and appearance of the conservation area or setting of St. Denys Church or the Red Lion public house. Visible green roofs and greenery around the site will be a welcome addition to the streetscape.
– Heritage Statement (PDF)

Personally I quite liked the original bright and bold version, rather than the colour scheme suggested in these documents:


Plans for Spark:York at 17-21 Piccadilly, from the planning application documents

From bold to the other extreme, colour-wise. This seems a shame and the effect looks a bit drab/depressing. I’m also a bit concerned about what will happen to the planting — apparently to include climbers and trees — when the project finishes.

But they’re just minor concerns, clearly. In general I think it’s an exciting and impressive-looking project and a good use for the site at this point. It will at some point soon go to the planning committee for discussion and decision, and I’m sure many of us will be following developments with interest.

The bright lights of Piccadilly

While we’re waiting let’s have a wander further down Piccadilly, heading out of town. An email alerted me to some rather striking lighting effects on the front of the new ‘Piccadilly Residence’ accommodation, facing the corner of St Denys Road.

Piccadilly Residence, bright lights on a winter's night

Piccadilly Residence, bright lights on a winter’s night

It is clearly visible from some distance, a tall column of lighting above the main entrance.

Standing opposite the entrance I watched it change colour:




Not sure what to think. Soothing and restful, or flashy and brash? Opinions vary.

The Piccadilly Residence is another of those office to residential conversions, recently completed. It contains 119 apartments, for students and young professionals. The website suggests that they’re all occupied, that the building is fully let. Presumably this area is already a bit busier and livelier than it used to be.

It will be interesting to see how Piccadilly changes further if the Spark:York plans get the go-ahead.

And over the road … 46-50 Piccadilly?

I was hoping to be able to link to a planning application over on the other side of the road, mentioned in a comment on this site a few weeks back, and reported in the media as being about to be submitted, then as submitted, but it’s still not showing up on the ‘planning access’ pages. Perhaps the planning department is a bit snowed-under at present. There seems to quite a lag between applications being validated and their showing up for public viewing and comment. More on this story later perhaps.

When it is added to the online system, as it might be by the time you read this, it should show up on the link below if you put ‘Piccadilly’ or ’46-50 Piccadilly’ in the search box:

Update: 9 March

The application went online yesterday:

17/00429/FULM | Erection of part 5/part 6 storey hotel (140 bedrooms) with ground floor restaurant and 6 storey building comprising 8 no. apartments (class C3) | Proposed Hotel 46 – 50 Piccadilly York YO1 9NX

. . . . . .

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About Lisa @YorkStories

Lisa @YorkStories is the creator, administrator, and writer of content on She can be contacted on this link or via Twitter, @YorkStories
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