RENTING a shop in Coney Street is three times more expensive than the cost of moving into a shop in Goodramgate, according to council officers, who said landlords will need to “adjust their expectations”.

But they said a number of companies have shown an interest in moving to Coney Street and they expect to see stores opening in some of the vacant units soon.

In a report prepared for a City of York Council meeting yesterday, officers highlighted a “very noticeable cluster of vacancies in Coney Street” but said the city still has the second lowest shop vacancy rate of any UK city.

Cllr Keith Aspden said that there are challenges but added: “There’s a lot to be really, really pleased about, particularly when considering the national context.

“No doubt there are clusters of vacant premises. They are much larger units.”

He asked what the council can do to improve Coney Street but council officers said all the units are owned by private landlords and that the high number of empty shops was partly caused by all the leases ending at the same time.

Simon Brereton, head of economic growth at the council, said: “Coney Street is by far the most expensive part of York. The rents in Coney Street are something like three times the rents per square foot that they are in Goodramgate.

“We are aware of interest in a number of those shops and we hope to see some movement in terms of openings.”

Neil Ferris, corporate director of economy and place at the council, added: “The ability of the retail sector to pay high rates is diminishing and there needs to be an adjustment of landlords’ expectations.

"Because of York’s success as a visitor destination it remains a desirable place to move to, but at the right price.”