The company that gained permission for the huge York Roman Quarter development on Rougier Street has gone into administration.
Rougier Street Developments Ltd oversaw the plans which included a Roman museum called Eboracum, an 88-room aparthotel, 153 new apartments and office space.
It finally won planning permission at the second attempt last October.
Those behind the scheme said it would bring 500,000 visitors a year to York, create 50 new jobs and boost York’s economy by £21 million.
But as YorkMix was the first to report, the whole scheme was deemed financially unviable by independent experts appointed by the council.
Since winning planning permission, nothing has been done to progress the scheme. And then in March this year, the whole development was put up for sale, including Northern House, Rougier House, Lendal arches and Society Bar.
Now it has emerged that Rougier Street Developments Ltd has gone into administration. It owns Northern House.
Steven Williams and Gary Hargreaves from FRP Advisory Trading Ltd were appointed receivers on 4 May.
It throws the whole future of the site into doubt.
Labour’s executive member for planning on City of York Council, Cllr Michael Pavlovic, said: “As was raised by several planning committee members at the time, the Rougier Street proposal had been clearly highlighted as an unviable scheme by the district valuer, on behalf of the council.
“This was why the then opposition Labour Group later called for a review and for this decision to be reconsidered.
“Redevelopment of this part of the city would be welcome but the major switch from higher paid office jobs to apartments and no affordable housing within this proposal is not something this Labour administration believes is in the city’s best interests.”
Cllr Pavlovic added: “However, people can be reassured that any purchase of the site out of administration will still be subject to the planning consent granted and that any variation would require a full reconsideration by the council’s planning committee.
“Viability of major developments like this should be something all councils, including York, takes into consideration. We will encourage and support the regeneration of the city but want to see obvious public benefit and an overall positive contribution to our city when plans do come forward.”
Heritage campaigner and former councillor Johnny Hayes told YorkMix: “The writing has been on the wall that Rougier Street Developments would go into administration for a long time and particularly since the full Financial Viability Assessment Report was published in September 2022.
“The City of York Council commissioned report made it crystal clear that the Roman Quarter development was totally and utterly unviable as it stood.
“But the developers argued at planning that they would stick with the development for the next 50 years plus to make it viable. That surprisingly seemed to convince some of the Councillors on the Planning Committee to ignore the obvious writing on the wall.
“The question is what is going to happen now? The previously occupied Northern House, Rougier House and the other buildings on the site are now all virtually empty following Rougier Street’s planning application.
“The building are going to deteriorate and Rougier Street will be a vacant space for perhaps years to come.”