Store plan would mark ‘the end of the road’ for key York shopping street
Fears have been voiced that a plan for an empty store could threaten ‘the future of York city centre as a viable commercial entity’.
As YorkMix reported earlier this month, the former Grimoire Bookshop on High Petergate will be converted into a family home if planners give permission.
It was left empty after the tenant moved out overnight taking their stock with them, according to the landlord.
However, retailers say that if the conversion goes ahead, it will damage the commercial future of High Petergate – and even put York’s status as a shopping destination at risk.
Philippa Morris runs the Little Apple Bookshop on the same street. She has lodged a strong objection to the plan.
“A shop or restaurant can attract hundreds of people to a street in one week, thousands in a year. A house will bring just one resident or family” she writes
“This proposed residential conversion will not contribute to High Petergate which is a business and retail street (with some dwellings on upper floors), and where each premise brings employment, tourism and cultural richness to the city of York.”
“If anything it will make it harder for existing businesses which all rely on each other to attract a different clientele.
“The future of York city centre as a viable commercial entity will be threatened if this proposal is accepted and it will open the floodgates for many more similar applications, where maximising profits for property owners is prioritised ahead of the commercial health of York city centre.”
Should stay as a shop
Phil Pinder, vice chair of York High Street Forum, agreed. He told YorkMix: “Converting a small shop into residential would be the start of the end for High Petergate as a retail street.
“Shops don’t work in isolation – they need neighbouring shops to bring different passing trade.
“The demand for small shops in York is very high, no other shop of this size is currently empty or without plenty of offers.
“The only reason to convert this shop can be to make more money – it was purchased by the landlords as a shop, it should remain a shop while demand is still there.”
He said if you are interested in renting this unit, “then please get in touch with us and we can prove to the council the demand for such spaces is very high”.
Number 7 High Petergate is a Grade II listed, timber-framed building dating from the 17th century.
Planning documents prepared on behalf of its owner, Ashtons estate agents, say it was originally a home and add: “There are examples within the city centre where this change of use has previously been approved.”
Well if it is turned into a home the next thing will be the homeowners complaining about noise in the street day and night
Then the other shops will just give up and move to another part of the city or another city all together