Time to revisit, again, one of my favourite ‘eyesores’, the former White Swan Hotel on Piccadilly. As this photo (taken last summer) shows, from the corner, with the blue sky behind, it’s not really an ‘eyesore’ at all. The ground floor is a bit depressing, as it has the old signage for Jessops. It may soon display a familiar orange colour instead.
A planning application has been submitted for the conversion of the upper floors to residential accommodation, with retail space below. If you’re thinking this sounds familiar, it is. There was a planning application in autumn last year, which was approved. This one doesn’t seem much different, though the number of apartments has increased slightly and includes some affordable housing provision.
I know some people aren’t welcoming the idea of another Sainsbury’s Local. Just down the road one way is a Tesco Express, down the road and round a corner or two is another Tesco Express, and a Morrison’s is going to open on Spurriergate, near that Tesco Express. There is I believe another Sainsbury’s Local due to open at the bottom of Micklegate. I won’t go on as it would take forever …
But let’s look on the positive side. I feel the need to, after the recent news on the Burnholme club building.
A quick recap:
— The White Swan hotel, with its many rooms, has been unused since 1982. Yes, since 1982.
— For years and years people moaned about it being ‘an eyesore’ (covered at length a couple of years ago on this page).
— When the owners first suggested redevelopment of the site, with a complete rebuild, people complained about the loss of this handsome building.
— So they then drew up plans which retained the exterior we’re so fond of, and put them on show to the public, with what looked to me like genuine concern for the views of local residents.
— As part of the planning application the owners commissioned a detailed historic building report (PDF). If only all documents produced to support planning applications were so carefully and thoughtfully produced.
— They’ve now had to make a few minor changes to the plans, and it looks like an occupant has been found for the ground floor. A successful and well-known name, unlikely to go out of business.
So, people will be living here, in the centre of York, in a handsome building we can all continue to admire, and the shop underneath will sell things we actually need, like food.
Great. Please can we all be happy. A reminder again, it’s 30 years since the top floors of this building were in use. Back then, in 1982, the guests in the hotel might have been listening to The Goombay Dance Band or Dexys.
So come on, be happy. Get your dungarees on and let’s have a dance (1982 style):