Plan to convert historic building from retail to residential use

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Permission has been granted to provide investment that will allow the Barnitts homeware shop, in York, to plan for the next chapter for the business.

The City of York Council Area Planning Committee approved a planning application, which was originally deferred in November 2020 to allow further viability work to take place.

The proposals are a partnership between Oakgate Group and Barnitts to turn the former Drill Hall building on St Andrewgate, into 10 townhouses and two apartments and retain the current commercial unit on Kings Square.

The planning decision will allow for investment in the city centre and a planned ‘click and collect store’ on James Street.

The Drill Hall was previously used by the Territorial Army and was bought by Barnitts around 25 years ago and converted into retail space.

Paul Thompson, managing director of Barnitts, which has been in his family since 1913, said: “The granting of planning approval is welcome news after a challenging time.

“This decision means we can now move on and concentrate on the next steps for Barnitts through reinvesting in retailing in York and expanding the business by opening our new retail click and collect store with parking at James Street.

“It will also result in us taking 98% of our delivery traffic out of the city centre.”

Richard France, managing director of Oakgate, added: “It’s important that a Grade II Listed building, The Drill Hall, is to be given a whole new lease of life, providing high quality new homes in a Mews setting in the heart of the city centre.

“It undoubtedly will safeguard its heritage for the future for all to enjoy.”

The architect for the project was DLA Architecture and the planning consultant was Lichfields.