More independent business owners have objected to plans to turn a shop into a home, saying it could lead to ‘radical change’ in York city centre.
The proposals would see a shop on High Petergate in York turned into a family home.
It was left empty after the tenant moved out overnight taking their stock with them, according to the landlord.
The Grade II listed building, which dates from the 1600s, has three floors of potential retail space.
“This change of use will provide a high-quality dwelling, which will maintain the existing building and guarantee the sustainable use of the property,” planning documents state.
YorkMix reported in January that the owners of The Little Apple Bookshop on High Petergate have objected, shop conversions like this threaten “future of York city centre as a viable commercial entity”.
Now more people have added their opposition, many of whom run their own independent businesses in the city.
Tara Gammon, who runs Rainbows Ceramics on Bootham, writes: “As a small business I worry that if this application is agreed it will set a precedent of other landlords to convert other small commercial shops…
“Furthermore I would also be concerned about existing shop leases being refused when they come up for renewal, in the hope of conversion into a dwelling. Before long our High Streets will be gone.”
“As the owner of a nearby business I believe that such a change would set a worrying precedent that could radically change the character of the street to the detriment of the entire central area,” writes Matt Harris.
“Other properties on the street are already vacant, something that really demonstrates that we may be heading for a tipping point before tumbling towards emptiness – I don’t see how green-lighting this does anything but accelerate this trend.”
Matthew Punton runs Heima, the hardware and eco/refill store on Gillygate. “York is a city that fares better than many due to its thriving independents, which rely on the small properties available in York’s compact centre,” he says.
“Their proximity to other businesses is essential in keeping a vibrant business scene which generate income for the city.”
Emmy Richardson said: “I am worried that should this go through it will create a precedent for turning small commercial premises like it into houses and flats and reducing the quality of the commercial streets such as Petergate, Gillygate (where I run an independent shop), Goodramgate etc.”
The plans are due to be decided on in mid May. You can read and comment on the plans here.