17th November 2023

Helmsley Group submits plans to convert unused upper floors at High Ousegate to original use

Property specialist Helmsley Group has submitted plans to convert disused upper floors on York’s High Ousegate into new city centre residential property.


The building Helmsley plans to convert can be dated to the 19th century, as an original example of a purpose-built commercial property on the ground floor and residential space on the upper floors.


The application proposes to preserve 24-25 High Ousegate to allow the historically sensitive reinstatement of residential use to the upper floors of the building, currently used only for retail storage.


Access to the apartments will be gained via a new staircase created at 9 Coppergate. This later 20th Century addition is currently used as a rear secondary exit by Card Factory with prominent retail frontage located on adjacent High Ousegate


The staircase will not only create a dedicated access route but will also repurpose the existing flat roof area as a communal south facing courtyard for residents, a rare commodity in York city centre.


The Coppergate entrance is proposed to provide an opportunity to pay homage to the building’s heritage through ‘ghost sign’ artwork on the existing brick gable, referencing the longest standing former occupant of neighbouring 22-24 High Ousegate, chemist and druggist ‘Brown and Co’.


With current occupant Card Factory nearing the end of its lease, Helmsley Group is in talks with potential future tenants at 24-25 High Ousegate.


This latest application follows recently submitted plans by Helmsley Group for the residential conversion of three holiday lets on York’s Spurriergate into permanent homes.


It is part of a wider strategy to boost much needed city centre home ownership through residential conversions across its portfolio, including neighbouring Coney Street, as part of its Coney Street Riverside vision, as well as schemes on King’s Square and Goodramgate.


Tom Riddolls, development surveyor at Helmsley Group, said: “There is so much potential at city centre locations such as this to bring much needed and unused space back to life, returning the property to its originally intended use for the first time in more than a century.


“Our plans will preserve the history of the building while sensitively enhancing the street scene along Coppergate for the benefit of visitors and residents alike.”


Max Reeves, director at Helmsley Group, added: “Helmsley Group has a strong track record of residential development in York, including the recent conversion of The Old Fire Station and numerous other city centre residential schemes, unlocking numerous benefits for the city and local economy.


“We are acutely aware of York’s historical significance and keen to restore the property to its original mixture of commercial and residential use, preserving the building and surrounding area to be enjoyed by future generations.”


A standalone listed building application for landlord works to the ground floor commercial spaces of 24-25 High Ousegate will also be submitted whilst the application progresses for the residential conversion of its upper floors.

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