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09/12/2014

News Release - Issued by City of York Council

Iconic Guildhall set to be transformed into Digital Media Arts Centre


Cabinet members will consider exciting new proposals to transform the iconic Guildhall complex to create a world class venue and exhibition space for the creative, digital media arts business sectors in York, at a meeting on 16 December 2014.

Approval is being sought from members for work to begin on the appointment of a design team and operating partner to deliver the Digital Media Arts Centre (DMAC) development. A decision to release an initial investment of £500k to fund the detailed design of the building to the planning stage, and provide legal, financial and procurement resource through the next phase of the project, will also be taken.

The proposals provide a flexible workspace for small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and would be supported by a commercial offer including a high quality restaurant, a creative cafe/ bar and additional modern flexible office space opening onto a new attractive riverside public space, which will link to the Guildhall yard and to City Screen.
The designation of York as a City of Media Arts by UNESCO further reinforces the case for establishing the DMAC in the Guildhall, creating a highly visible hub of innovation at the heart of the city.
Cllr Williams, Cabinet member for Finance and Performance at City of York Council, said: “The proposals being put forward for the Guildhall have the potential to offer York a world class venue and exhibition space for the creative sector, which is flexible enough provide sole traders, freelancers, micro businesses and SME’s a chance to thrive and grow in the city.

“This is exactly what the sector in York is telling us it needs and will help us to ensure that the city’s talent is retained, rather than going elsewhere. It will bring significant economic benefit to the city of over £8m in GVA and secure the future of the Guildhall complex, one of York’s most iconic buildings”.

Peter Brown, Director of York Civic Trust has offered his support to the project, saying: “The proposal for the Guildhall identifies deserving new uses or this whole complex, whilst safeguarding the long-term future of the important historic buildings. The scheme outlined delivers an excellent combination of respect for the city’s heritage and a new contribution to the commercial vibrancy of the city centre”.

The development is expected to have a cost of £9.23m and is being funded from a combination of the authority’s EIF, capital funding committed by the council, potential grant funding from the Leeds City Region Regional Growth Fund and expected commercial income. Work is expected to start onsite in 2016 and could be completed by as early as 2018.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

Photo: Please see attached a photo of Cllr Dafydd Williams, Cabinet member for Finance and Performance at City of York Council with a model of the Guildhall.
The council’s five key priorities for 2011-2015 are:
• Create jobs and grow the economy
• Get York moving
• Build strong communities
• Protect vulnerable people
• Protect the environment
•The council’s cabinet member for Finance, Performance and Customer Service is Cllr Dafydd Williams on 07803 063815

For further information please contact:
Leona Marshall
Head of Communications
City of York Council
Tel: 01904 55 2057
Fax: 01904 551064
Mob/out of hours: 07881627038
Email: leona.marshall@york.gov.uk