Full plans for Barnitts site revealed – with 12 homes built alongside downsized shop

Conversion plans: the drill hall, now part of Barnitts. Image: planning documents

Ten townhouses and two apartments could be built on part of the current Barnitts store in York city centre.

A planning application has been submitted for the scheme, first unveiled last month – which would see the Drill Hall and upper floors of 28a Colliergate turned into housing.

The proposals would see new residents enter the development from St Andrewgate on to an internal courtyard.


The new townhouses will have roof terraces or sky lights.

A statement says:

  • Barnitts is a longstanding and popular family-owned retailer having been trading in York for more than 100 years and is committed to remaining within the city centre.

    However the changing nature of retail trends and operations has led to a change to the Barnitts business model.

    This includes an increasing proportion of online sales and a reduction in shop-based sales of furniture in particular.

    On site storage of such items is no longer required … as a result Barnitts’ existing premises are too large for its long term requirements, and are also inefficient, being spread across multiple floors and areas of a number of interlinked buildings.

A smaller shop on Colliergate is set to remain open.

City centre presence

The changing face of Colliergate
It adds: “The application site currently forms part of Barnitts – one of York’s largest independent department stores.

“Oakgate Group has been working in conjunction with Barnitts on the proposals, which have been developed over a number of years, in response to the need for Barnitts to consolidate and modernise its retail function whilst retaining a strong presence in the city centre.”

Of the new homes, the plans state:

  • The site is accessed through the Drill Hall main entrance to St Andrewgate.

    The internal courtyard formed within the Drill Hall then provides access to 7 townhouses across 3 floors from within the courtyard itself and 1 from St Andrewgate. These townhouses are provided with amenity space on the second floor in the form of terraces.

    The townhouse accessed from St Andrewgate is within the north eastern corner through an existing doorway.

    The Drill Hall courtyard provides through access to St Andrewgate Courtyard, where a further courtyard mews is formed serving the remaining two townhouses and access via an underpass to a final yard space to the rear of No28A, accessing the two apartments.

    The buildings to the north have a south facing disposition and back onto an existing residential development also of a mews design.

How the Drill Hall might look after the conversion

The company is set to open a new edge-of-town store in James Street – next to the new branch of Lidl.

The new shop, which received planning approval last year, will sell new furniture, garden furniture and lighting, and also offer new services, such as ‘click and collect’, with parking on site.

A spokesman said in December that the changes will not mean an increase or decrease in the number of staff.

One thought on “Full plans for Barnitts site revealed – with 12 homes built alongside downsized shop

  1. As long as they continue to sell Hardware and electrical fittings from the city centre: this was Barnitt’s USP and if they take that away then then the store is doomed – there will be no further need to go there. Folk certainly won’t go to St. James for tools, screws and light fittings.

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