The Council has confirmed that a proposal, submitted earlier in the year by the CVS, to lease and improve Oliver House, proved not to be financially viable.
New terms are now being renegotiated with the expectation that a report will be considered at a meeting in December.
The property has been empty for 18 months and sits on a prime site which could generate a major capital receipt for the local taxpayer.
Conversion of residential sites like these to offices is very short-sighted.
The Council would be wiser to sell the site for development as housing and use the receipt to provide offices in a cheaper – possibly sub-urban – location.
This would have the additional advantage of regenerating one of our run down local high streets.
At a recent Council meeting Westfield Cllr Lynn Jeffries posed the following question to the responsible Cabinet member;
“Oliver House has remained empty for 18 months (other than for access by a ‘security by occupation’ company), but the Cabinet Member has not taken steps to maximise the income available from the property, for example by letting the parking spaces associated with it. When does the Cabinet Member anticipate the building being brought back into residential use or sold to generate a significant capital receipt?”
“The Cabinet decided to offer Oliver House to York CVS subject to business case agreement in May 2012, to set up a hub for various social care services. It was anticipated that there would be a delay before the scheme was up and running and this was reflected in the Cabinet report at the time.
We have worked jointly with CVS to clarify the requirement for a social care hub, the conversion costs and the business case. The initial proposals from York CVS were not affordable so further analysis and options are currently being evaluated and the decision will come back to Cabinet in either Nov or Dec when all new options have been satisfactorily assessed.
The arrangements for the empty building have kept it secure and we are working hard to secure the future use of the building as quickly as possible.”