York’s high street is outperforming almost all its rivals.
A report by the Centre for Cities places York second for cities with the fewest high street vacancies in 2017/18.
With 7% shop vacancies, it is pipped to top spot by Cambridge by just 0.1%.
York leaders welcomed the figures, revealed in the City Centres: Past, Present and Future report, saying it reflected the success of ongoing city centre initiatives in the face of online competition.
City of York Council leader Ian Gillies said: “The high street is a key priority for City of York Council and we must continue to work with partners to make a positive impact on its robustness and to secure continued growth.”
The Centre for Cities report doesn’t contain all positive news for York.
It finds that the city has shown sluggish growth in both residents and jobs. Report authors say:
In a city centre like York where property is relatively expensive, its low growth may be partly due to restrictions in space within its historic centre.
This makes York much more like cities in Quadrant D, such as Cambridge, where constraints on the availability of space require choices and trade-offs about how land is used, but without the same growth in jobs.
But the council points to a number of initiatives to change that situation, including:
- the redevelopment of the Guildhall complex
- creating 2,500 homes and 100,000 sq m of commercial space at York Central
- the regeneration of the Castle Gateway area
- spending £100K on a ‘My City Centre’ engagement exercise