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York’s Historic Guildhall restored and transformed

York’s Historic Guildhall restored and transformed

VINCI Building and City of York Council is delighted to confirm that the restoration of the Guildhall has now been completed, with one of York’s historic buildings now ready to support local businesses and drive economic growth in the heart of the city.

Planning and Listed Building consent for the innovative scheme was secured in 2017 by the council, led by architects Burrell Foley Fischer.

Restoration and redevelopment of the Guildhall began in September 2019, with the council appointed construction contractor, VINCI Construction UK, carrying out an extensive programme of works to refurbish the building and create a first-class business venue, whilst also respecting the Guildhall’s great heritage.

Funding for the £21.7m restoration and redevelopment work was provided by City of York Council, York and North Yorkshire LEP and West Yorkshire Combined Authority through respective HMG Growth Deal contributions and the Getting Building Fund.

Following the restoration, the building will be leased to York Science Park (YSPL), a subsidiary of the University of York, helping to support local entrepreneurs and start-ups looking to grow.

The Guildhall is a collection of Grade I, II* and II listed buildings built around the 15th century hall and riverside meeting room. Before the project, the complex had only seen reactive repairs and maintenance works since extensive rebuilding work was carried out following the Baedeker bombing raids in 1942. This comprehensive scheme of refurbishment has safeguarded the building’s future, providing accessible 21st century facilities and amenities to complement the historical significance.

The restored Guildhall will offer:

  • High quality (business) office, meeting, conference and events space

  • Availability for community, civic and council use

  • A café

  • A new riverside restaurant

  • Access for visitors and local residents

Councillor Keith Aspden, Leader of City of York Council, said:

“The Guildhall is one of York’s and the region’s most historically significant buildings and I am pleased to see this great asset restored for the city.

“The investment in the Guildhall means that the complex will once again play an important role in the city’s future for years to come, with excellent facilities for businesses and local residents to benefit from.

“I would like to thank the efforts of staff and partners, who have worked tirelessly throughout the course of the pandemic to help deliver this project.”

Councillor Nigel Ayre, Executive Member for Finance and Performance at City of York Council, said:

“The Council has made a major contribution to secure the long-term future of the Guildhall via this restoration project and we are proud to be custodians of such a nationally important building in the city.”

“Crucially, we have been able to preserve the historic character of the building, whilst also redeveloping the building for business, social and civic uses. The Guildhall will be accessible for local residents for the first time in many years, with tours and open days taking place next month, offering an opportunity for people to take a look inside.”

Chris Winspear, Regional Director at VINCI Building said:

“It has been an honour to take on this once-in-a-generation project and the resulting transformation is testament to the successful partnership working between City of York Council, the design team, ourselves and our supply chain. There have been some extraordinary engineering and logistic challenges to overcome and our team are very proud in what they have accomplished. It’s been a delight returning the Guildhall to its former glory, whilst repurposing it for twenty-first century use.”

The focus now is on furnishing so the building can fully reopen in May. As part of the reopening of the Guildhall, a series of tours and open days will be taking place so people can see the restoration for themselves. Further information will be announced shortly.

Date: 26 April 2022

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