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Shopping hub hope for York’s night-time economy
A CITY-CENTRE shopping centre could become the focus of any plans to boost York’s night-time economy by extending the hours stores stay open.
City of York Council officials have said the city often suffers from a “lull in activity” between people leaving work and pubs, bars and restaurants becoming busy, leading to a group of councillors looking at how this could be addressed, including whether shops would be keen on regularly having later opening times.
An update on its work said the Coppergate Shopping Centre’s management have shown an interest in doing this, having already discussed it with major tenants including Fenwick and Top Shop, and the suggestion will be discussed further at a meeting next week.
However, Piccadilly car park’s 6.30pm closing time is considered a barrier to the centre – which is also set to house a Primark store – lengthening its opening times.
The report said the councillors may investigate whether all council-run car parks which close before 8pm could stay open longer, and the pros and cons of offering free parking after 5pm on late-night shopping evenings.
Representatives from York Retail Forum, the Federation of Small Businesses, the City Team York, bus companies and taxi firms have been invited to attend the forthcoming meeting over longer trading times.
Council officers said the Coppergate Shopping Centre had shown “enthusiasm and positivity” towards extending its hours, having been approached after information from other cities – including Sheffield, Oxford, Bath, Chester and Norwich – showed later shopping times had only worked in city-centre areas where there were “clusters” of businesses.
They said York was doing as well as, or better than, similar cities in terms of the number of shops staying open beyond 5pm, but the task group could study how other retailers can be encouraged to do this.
York Retail Forum chairman Frank Wood said: “Extending trading hours has been suggested before, but has been difficult to get off the ground. If it does, it’s self-generating, but it’s hard to start. Other cities have more national chains opening late, but York has a lot of independent traders and it is a huge expense for them to extend their hours if they are not seeing the benefit from it.”
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