A luxury clothing store could open in part of the former BHS building in York.

Flannels, a fashion chain selling designer brands such as Gucci, Agent Provocateur and Givency, has applied for planning permission to open a branch in part of the huge vacant unit between Coney Street and New Street.


The retailer wants to create a new shop front and planning documents say there would be a concierge to open the door for customers.

The entrance will be on New Street next door to All Bar One and it will have two floors.

New shopfront

How the front of the store would look
A report says the store would become part of York’s busy retail heart, adding:

  • It is proposed to replace the whole shopfront, entrance doors, display windows and signage with a new shopfront of similar materials.

    The existing fascia is to be retained with the only visual alteration being a proposed subtle change to the infill panels from grey and stone colour to black.

The unit has been empty since BHS closed in 2016. Flannels, which is owned by Sports Direct, will take over 745sqm of the property.

Plans for a new bar and restaurant to open in the unit were approved in 2017.


But City of York Council refused to grant a licence for the proposals, which would have seen national chain Revolucion de Cuba open a Latin-themed roof bar and terrace at the site.

The large store is now split into three units. Plans have not yet been revealed for the rest of the building.

Owned by Sports Direct

The entrance to the old BHS on New Street, York. Photograph: Richard McDougall
YorkMix revealed in January that the old BHS building has been bought by Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct business.

The owners currently pay no business rates on the property, councillors were told at a meeting of the economy and place committee in March.

Simon Brereton, head of economic growth at the council, said some landlords of empty buildings pay rates while others do not.

The former BHS store is currently exempt. Speaking at the meeting on March 19, he said:

  • One of the ways that landlords find to remove their property from the rateable list, and actually BHS is zero valued at the moment, is to argue that they’re not actually fit for use. One of the ways you can do that is if for instance if you remove the toilets from a building.

    My understanding is that BHS is valued at zero at the moment because there are some holes dug in the floor, which would mean it’d be actually dangerous to go inside.

Flannels has already opened branches in other cities including Leeds, Middlesbrough and Manchester.

Two planning applications have been submitted for the York branch, outlining plans for new illuminated signs and a new shop entrance.