ANOTHER shop which has long stood empty in York’s premier shopping street has finally been re-occupied, as the road’s mini-revival continues.

The premises next door to Waterstones book store in Coney Street has re-opened as The Phone Store, a phone repair and sales shop.

The opening reduces the number of empty shops in the street to seven - a marked improvement on the worst situation last year when the number was heading towards a dozen.

Another long empty shop, the former Burgins perfumery on the edge of St Helen’s Square, also looks set to re-open shortly as a Lucky Days cafe, provided City of York Council grants permission for the change of use.

However, a cloud does continue to hang over Coney Street with plans to shut the large Burtons/Dorothy Perkins store under a CVA agreement to rescue troubled parent company Arcadia.

The section of the former BHS store fronting on to Coney Street, just across the road from Burtons, also remains shut, although another section fronting onto New Street is now being refurbished prior to re-opening as a Flannels fashion shop.

Andrew Hedley, of Blacks Property Consultants, said yesterday that the re-openings were in line with previous predictions he had made that Coney Street would eventually revive.

“What goes around comes around, and there’s always new kids on the block,” he said.

He felt that in the face of numerous empty properties, landlords were being more realistic in the rents they were hoping to achieve.

And a move by the Chancellor last autumn to cut business rates by a third for premises with a rateable value of £51,000 and under where occupied by a retailer was also helping.

York was also being helped by the confidence shown by retailers who were still trading well in taking premises, and ‘flagship’ properties like Crabtree & Evelyn, on the corner of Stonegate, being taken the day after becoming vacant.

“It is not rocket science – one lets, then another,” said Mr Hedley.

“We are in York and some sunshine, visitors arriving and student population increasing really does help us.”