Growth Deal funded work to restore York’s historic Guildhall continues safely

The project has received £2.347 million funding from the Leeds City Region Growth Deal

5 May 2020

Work is continuing safely and effectively on the £20 million project to bring York’s historic Guildhall back to life with workers keeping to strict social distancing restrictions put in place last month in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The project, which is being led by City of York Council, has received a £2.347 million investment from the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (the LEP), delivered in partnership with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, through the Leeds City Region Growth Deal – a £1 billion package of Government investment to accelerate growth and create jobs across Leeds City Region.

Once the work is complete, the landmark building will be transformed with modern offices, conference space and a restaurant. It is expected to add a £117 million boost to the city's economy over five years once work has completed in 2021, creating an estimated 250 new jobs.

Cllr Keith Aspden, Leader of City of York Council and member of the Combined Authority, said: “The Covid-19 crisis poses new challenges to all local authorities, with City of York Council having to adapt quickly to protect residents and deliver vital services. Our immediate effort to get vital help to the city’s most vulnerable and support our local communities and businesses has been swift and effective.

“At the same time, we are putting in place the foundation of our recovery. With the help of partners across York and the wider region, we are working to make sure that our city can bounce back from the crisis.

“It is essential for York’s recovery that we continue to work together to deliver key regeneration projects like the Guildhall and York Central. These projects are central to our ambitions for inclusive growth, new public spaces and better housing, which are now more important than ever.”

Roger Marsh OBE DL, Chair of the LEP, said: “As we look to the future and how the Leeds City Region can recover from the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s wonderful to see work continuing within social distancing guidelines to restore the Guildhall – one of York’s most fascinating and important historical landmarks.

“This ambitious project will ensure the Guildhall is fit for modern-day business needs and allow it, once again, to be at the heart of enterprise by catering to the needs of those entrepreneurs and SMEs that will drive forward the local economy in its recovery.

“This is yet another example of how the Combined Authority and the LEP are working together with our partner councils to ensure Growth Deal investment is targeted at the projects that will make a real difference to people living, working and studying in the Leeds City Region.”

Cllr Nigel Ayre, Executive Member for Finance and Performance, City of York Council said: “I'm delighted with the progress we're seeing take place at the Guildhall, demonstrating what good partnership and site management can accomplish. The project has managed to progress whilst implementing government social distancing restrictions , and the team has achieved 90% of all scheduled work on site in the last month.

“This project is historically important for the city and one which will have a lasting impact on our city centre economy. The new office spaces will allow the next generation of York businesses to start-up and grow, creating new jobs in the city. The innovative vision for the site works both to protect and restore our heritage, and open up new opportunities for our city's future.

"Despite the extraordinary events of floods and pandemics - I'm pleased that work continues to go ahead, placing in one of the city's most famous buildings, back at the heart of York's economic, social and civic life.”

Over the past month, the site has seen significant progress on the demolition of the old North Range and the removal of debris from the site, using barges to Queens Staith. All demolition works on site are soon to be completed and reconstruction of the new North Range will shortly follow, which includes the supporting infrastructure for the North range tower.

The Guildhall restoration began in September 2019, initiating vital restoration and redevelopment of the Grade I, II* and II listed buildings, to offer office space, community use and a riverside restaurant.

Key benefits of the development include:

  • Bringing the Guildhall’s historic business role into the 21st century– creating quality office spaces with the potential to create an estimated 250 jobs in high value sectors.
  • Give the public improved access to the nationally significant heritage – through community use, events and civic meetings.
  • Maximising the economic impact of the Guildhall – creating £848,000 per annum income following completion and an estimated £117 million GVA boost to the city’s economy over the next five years. In addition, the construction phase would contribute 50 additional jobs and £7 million GVA in total.
  • Using 21st century green technology - heating the building efficiently, reducing costs and the environmental impact of the development.

The site is due to reopen to the public in Spring 2021.

Find out more about the project at