York Green Party

Historic aviation factory to be demolished

26 June 2015

York's Council Executive last night announced that it would go ahead with the demolition of the former Reynards Garage site on Piccadilly, despite pleas from heritage campaigners including Green Councillor Dave Taylor.

Councillor Taylor said at the meeting that it was "shameful" that successive Councils have allowed the building to deteriorate, and Councillors were now being "bumped" into a decision based on a six-year-old report.

The building was constructed in 1921 as a bus and tram shed. It was designated a Building of Merit in the official Central Historic Core Conservation Appraisal, and also features on the York Local List. It was leased to Airspeed Ltd as a new company, who played a significant role in the development of UK aviation, receiving investment from famous aviator Amy Johnson. The site has been under Council ownership for decades, and Councillors were warned that the building had now become a danger to the public.

The former Reynards Garage and Airspeed Ltd site on Piccadilly

The former Reynards garage site on Piccadilly (photo by Michael Jagger)

The Yorkshire Air Museum had put forward a proposal to incorporate the site into a city-centre heritage attraction, but despite Cllr Taylor's behest, this offer was not deemed acceptable.

Cllr Taylor urged Councillors to gift the site to the Yorkshire Air Museum and Northminster to develop as a museum and new housing, saying: "We know that Yorkshire Air Museum knows how to run a superb visitor attraction and we know that their developer backers care for the history and heritage of the city – only last night, Northminster won a York Design Award for the sensitive redevelopment of Piccadilly Lofts on the very same street."

"Please don't repeat the mistakes of the last administration. We do not preserve our heritage, or even commemorate it properly by knocking it down and sticking up a blue plaque on a faceless hotel."

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