AN innovative new app is being developed as a creative way to boost shops and other businesses in the city centre.

The free app, called Connected York, would allow residents and visitors to discover shops, cafes, restaurants and events that they would enjoy, based on their preferences. They would also be notified of promotions, such as free cake at a nearby cafe, in real time.

The app would also allow businesses to broadcast offers and attract customers who might not usually visit them. Marketing consultant Andrew Stark, from Copmanthorpe, co-founded the app with Melissa Magson. He said: “Residents are passionate about York and want to see it prosper and we want to see it prosper too. How can high streets adapt to change? The high street is changing and we are looking at how we can use technology in a way to complement the high street. There are some great places in York and the independent movement is growing here.With the changes in retail, people are looking for experiences - that’s something you can’t get shopping online.”

Melissa added: “A retailer can take charge of a slow day by offering a promotion, there and then. For example, a café could offer a free drink with every £5 spent within the next 60 mins – which could entice weary shoppers to a street they wouldn’t normally visit, or a hotelier could drop prices for an hour at the end of the day to maximise occupancy.”

The app is currently being developed by York-based company Merisis Technology. It is hoped it will be available by Christmas.