Reynard’s Garage, 17-21 Piccadilly comprises a substantial early 20th Century masonry and steel portal framed structure lying within the Historic Core Conservation Area to the south west of the River Foss and the City Centre.
In a report to a planning committee next week, Council officials say, “It is of some townscape importance as part of a group of early 20th Century industrial buildings and of some historical importance through its association with early aircraft manufacture by Airspeed Ltd and the author Neville Shute. It was initially constructed as a Trolley Bus Depot but following on from the withdrawal of the network in the early 1930s was converted to industrial use. The building is referred to in the Central Historic Core Conservation Area Appraisal although an attempt to have it Listed as being of Historic or Architectural Interest through Historic England has previously proved unsuccessful due to the lack of survival of its historic detailing and its very poor structural condition. It is in very poor structural repair and has been vacant for approximately 20 years”.
The report also says,
“it is clear that the fabric of the building is beyond repair for reuse, and the building is in the short term highly likely to collapse without major intrusive supporting works”
Officials recommend “any permission be conditioned to require short term development comprising the landscaping of the site including an element of interpretation of its role in the development of the modern City”.
They go on to recommend the demolition of the building.
Any short term use is likely to be restricted to either car parking of use as a coach drop off point. Council officials seem to think it will become a “landscaped area” although the costs and source of funding for such a temporary use are unclear.
The Council recently withdrew from its forward decision programme proposals to create a “Masterplan” covering the whole of the Piccadilly area.
While developers are known to have tabled comprehensive proposals for the area – including the conversion of Ryedale House into residential accommodation – it seems unlikely that the proposals will be considered in the near future.
In the meantime the derelict site should be made safe and put to a positive use which is neither an eyesore nor a burden on taxpayers..