3D visual of Rialto House, York

Thank you for visiting the Rialto House Public Consultation website

Mecca Bingo, York

New owners of the site, North Star and Grantside, are working with Olympian Homes on plans to redevelop the former Mecca Bingo site on Fishergate into a new student community and we would like to know what you think about the proposals.

The building will be named Rialto House, to celebrate the heritage of the previous Rialto cinema and venue on a part of this site before it was redeveloped as the Mecca bingo hall.

The vision for the project is to create a high quality, sustainable building on this important gateway site into the City Centre

Founded in 1993, Olympian Homes has a successful track record in delivering high quality, student housing, mixed-use and residential developments across the Country, including various projects in Yorkshire.   Further information can be found at www.olympianhomes.com

We have an experienced team working on the proposals which include leading designers GWP Architecture, DPP Planning Consultants, Royal Pilgrim Communications and Social Vision, along with other specialist consultants.

Need for new student homes

University students
Aerial view from York Minster
University students lecture

Despite other student accommodation developments being progressed in York, we firmly believe there is a strong demand for this type of use as the needs and requirements of the student population evolves.

Delivering more purpose built student accommodation will also free up traditional family housing that has been converted to multi-occupancy buildings.

Taking into account all purpose built student accommodation that is either built or has planning consent, it still only represents 38% of projected student numbers from both the successful Universities we have in the City.

There are currently 663 new student bedrooms with planning permission or being built, for a student population of nearly 27,000 in the City, and growing.  There are currently just over 10,000 built purpose built student bedrooms in York.

Aerial of the Mecca Bingo site

The Site

1966 - Tiffany’s, Mecca and Chevalier Club in Fishergate
1966 - Tiffany’s, Mecca and Chevalier Club in Fishergate
Mecca and Rialto first half of 20th century
Mecca and Rialto first half of 20th century
2003 - Mecca and Rialto Cinema (before Demolition)
2003 - Mecca and Rialto Cinema (before Demolition)
Present - Mecca Bingo
Present - Mecca Bingo

The site is located on a key arterial route into York and is well located for the City Centre and the two Universities.

Being close to amenities and businesses makes this site very sustainable and ideally located for student accommodation.

In the 1930’s several large buildings and the Rialto Cinema were constructed North of Blue Bridge Lane. Subsequently, in the late 20th Century, the former glassworks on the northern part of the site, was cleared and redeveloped to include new homes and the Novotel Hotel.

Further redevelopment has occurred to the North of Blue Bridge Lane in the early 21st century including a three storey residential development and the currently standing Mecca Bingo Hall, situated on the proposed development site, which was completed in 2003.

3D visual of Rialto House, York

The Proposals

The proposals have been sensitively designed to take account of the Grade II Listed Fishergate Primary School and Fishergate House.

During an extensive pre-application design process we have worked closely with City of York Council’s Planning and Design Officers to refine the proposals and take their comments on board.

Leading designers, GWP Architecture is working on the project and has used various development principles to inform the design. In total there are around 280 bedrooms proposed.  The key principles that have informed the design include:

Fishergate Road

At the juncture of Fishergate Road and Fawcett Street (and adjacent the proposed site), the urban realm changes to form a more open and natural form. The proposed scheme therefore aims to respond to this by setting back the site boundary and offering a hard landscaped space, lined with street trees, creating a public meeting space with cycle parking.

Blue Bridge Lane

Blue Bridge Lane towards Fishergate opens up next to Fishergate House with a landscaped private parking court featuring mature trees. The proposal again opens up to the street, with a landscaped South facing courtyard ‘mirroring’ the urban realm found here.

William Court

William Court, directly to the West of the proposed development, could be seen as an incomplete courtyard. The scheme looks to complete this with a new ‘residential’ development, replacing the current Mecca Bingo structure. The proposed scheme is also set back circa 4m from the current boundary/ extent of the existing building.

Also, the terraced homes perpendicular to this site are orientated North/South with minimal ‘tertiary’ fenestration looking East. The riverside block, with primary windows looking East, is also situated around 55m from the proposed development.

Blue Bridge Lane Open Space

Whilst from the river a flood defence wall predominates, the approach to Fishergate house opens up into a landscaped court and the proposed development aims to mirror this by providing a South facing soft landscaped courtyard.

Blue Bridge Lane Open Space Plan

Whilst from the river a flood defense wall predominates, the approach to Fishergate house opens up into a landscaped court and the proposed development aims to mirror this by providing a South facing soft landscaped courtyard.

3D visual of Rialto House, York View looking down Blue Bridge Lane to the River
3D visual of Rialto House, York View looking up Blue Bridge Lane to Fishergate


Sustainability is at the heart of the plans for the redevelopment of this site, with the aim to create an exemplar in sustainability.

Principles and features being explored and included are:

  • Fabric first approach – reducing CO2 emissions and improving on current official benchmarks
  • A wide range of renewable technologies being explored
  • Sustainable water management processes in place throughout the development
  • Lighting efficiency with the use of sensors to minimise electricity use

Have your say

Before a planning application is submitted to City of York Council for the proposals, we would like to know what the local community thinks. To have your say, please complete the feedback form below.

To have your say, please complete a feedback form here.

If you have any further questions, or would like any more information,  you can contact us on 01904 599 123 or ben@royalpilgrim.com

    Your name


    Town / City


    Your email

    What do you like about the proposals?

    Is there anything you would change about the plans?

    Do you have any further comments?

    Please tick here if you do not want to be contacted about the project.

    Privacy Policy:
    The data you provide is being collected by Royal Pilgrim Communications (who can be contacted on 0800 089 0362 or ben@royalpilgrim.com). The lawful basis for processing this data is Legitimate Interests for the purposes of this consultation, to gather your opinion on the proposal and to enable us to contact you regarding the project in the future. You can opt out of any contact, by ticking the box below or by contacting us at any time. You do not have to provide any personal data in order to comment on this proposal. We will not publish or share your personal data with any third parties. A copy of the comments that you make regarding the proposal will be provided to the local planning authority as part of the planning process and so that it can note the comments made, but no personal data will be shared, other than any personal data you choose to put in the comments box. Your personal data will be stored securely for the life of the project, which will be until the development is complete or a decision has been made not to go ahead with the project. You have the right to access, amend, object and remove the data we hold at any time. If you have a complaint, you can contact us or the Information Commissioner, whose contact details are available on their website www.ico.org.uk.

    Rialto House Brand

    Next steps

    We will consider all feedback received and where possible and appropriate make amends to the proposals. We will submit a planning application in the coming weeks. Should planning permission be granted, and there are no delays, we hope to start on site later in the year.


    How much parking is included?

    Rialto House is designed to be a largely car free development.  There will be 4 car park spaces and 184 bicycle spaces provided. It is very well located for both the City’s Universities, as well as the City Centre.

    How will you ensure that students won’t bring cars?

    Not bringing cars will be stipulated in their leases, which is enforceable.  Most of the streets around the site are resident parking zone areas too.

    Where will the vehicle access be?

    There will be a main vehicle access from Blue Bridge Lane, along with pedestrian and cycle access links.

    How tall will the building be?

    The buildings will be 2 full storeys above ground floor along with accommodation in the roof space.

    Why do we need more student homes?

    There is a strong demand for modern, purpose-built student accommodation in the city centre. Rialto House will provide much-needed services and facilities for students in a single, well-managed building. This offers an alternative to students taking up space in the local housing stock and will encourage a new community to enjoy life in this vibrant city.

    Student accommodation has become an important part of the country’s property sector in recent years. However, there are concerns in York that buying up residential properties for students is adding to the city’s housing problems.

    Why did the Mecca bingo hall close down?

    The bingo hall proved to be not viable in this location and closed in March this year.  It follows a trend of over 180  bingo halls closing down across the UK in the last five years alone.

    What are the timescales?

    All feedback from this consultation will be analysed and a planning application will be formally submitted to City of York Council.  If planning is granted then it is the intention to start work as soon as possible.

    What about potential disruption during construction?

    The company that ultimately manages this development will have strict policies and protocols to ensure that people moving in and out of the development are very carefully managed. This will include pre-booked short time slots for people delivering and picking up their belongings with a large number of marshals on hand to ensure it runs smoothly.