‘This does not make sense’ – City centre retailers hit out at Designer Outlet’s huge expansion plan

20 Jan 2020 @ 7.46 am
| Environment

City centre retailers are urging the council to support them by rejecting York Designer Outlet’s huge expansion plan.

They are objecting to the Naburn shopping centre’s bid to build an extension for 25 new shops and restaurants alongside 630 parking places.

The York BID (Business Improvement District) and York Retail Forum say that the expansion would directly hit city centre retail “which continues to face a challenging climate with competition from out of town retail offers and the rise in internet shopping”.

In a joint objection to the designer outlet’s plans, they urge City of York Council to reject the plans – and several Coppergate Centre shops have separately registered their own opposition.

‘Viewed extremely negatively’

An artist’s impression of the expanded Designer Outlet. Image: planning documents
The BID and Retail Forum submission makes the point that “York as a city, already has a disproportionate amount of out of town retail per head of population of any city in the UK”.

They say:

  • Vacant units exist in the city centre and other locations such as Clifton Moor.

    Allowing more retail floorspace would not show a commitment from City of York Council to addressing some of the current retail issues. It is also ignoring the wide issue of out of town retail parks across the UK beginning to suffer increasing vacancy rates.

    Creating an extra 630 car parking spaces, all that will be free of charge to customers will be viewed extremely negatively by current city centre retailers that rely on customers paying significant fees to access city centre parking.

And the car parking would contradict the council’s plans to reduce CO2 emissions.

They add: “Allowing the creation of new retail floorspace at a time that hundreds of vacant square metres exist within the city centre, Monks Cross and Clifton Moor does not make sense.”

Coppergate shop objections

The Coppergate brolly walk
Another objection comes from Redevco, which is a leaseholder of unit 10 in the Coppergate Shopping Centre, housing Topshop, Topman and Miss Selfridges.

It is objecting on the grounds that it is an inappropriate and harmful development in the green belt – and its impact on York city centre business, saying:

  • The proposal to expand the Outlet, against the recommendations of the Council’s evidence base and emerging Local Plan, would undermine the ability for York City Centre to retain and attract new retailers and would compromise future planned improvements, thus threatening the prospect of potential future schemes to come forward.

The damage to the green belt, and the harm to “ecology, landscape and visual amenity”, have also seen Fulford Parish Council to oppose the plans.