York City Council has refused to grant planning consent to privately-owned developer Grantside’s £185m plans for the redevelopment of the former Terry’s Chocolate factory.

The York-based developer’s subsidiary, GHT Developments, was hoping to build 296,000 sq ft of offices, two hotels and nearly 400 apartments at the 25-acre site.

But at a council meeting on Thursday councillors dismissed the plans because they were concerned about ‘over-development’ of the site.

'There were concerns over the designs and of a quantitative nature,’ planning meetings chair Richard Watson told Property Week. ‘We were concerned about the over development of the site.

We had concerns over the impact of the development on the local conservation area and on the Tadcaster Road area where we have a historic road going into the city from Leeds.

‘On the northern and eastern side of the site the applicants have proposed the housing. The applicant had put the class B (offices) abutting the housing to the south. We felt this was the wrong way round.’

After operating for 80 years the Terry’s Chocolate Factory was closed in September 2005 and bought the following spring by Grantside.

But Watson said he hopes Grantside are not disheartened by the planning rejection.

‘I hope they take a positive message from amongst the bad news,’ he said. ‘Councillors are very keen the site is developed. We very much hope they will be back before us with new designs.’