A LONGSTANDING family-owned antique centre has set its sights on a "bright new future" after securing a new lease.

The Antiques Centre York in Stonegate is York’s largest antiques site, and has greeted customers for more than 18 years.

The centre operates by renting cabinets and retail spaces to dealers in antiques, jewellery and collectables.

Bosses say that given the current tumultuous time for the retail in York, the new lease is a sign of hope and prosperity for the future of independent retailers.

Centre operator James Waggott said: “The process of agreeing the new lease for our Stonegate premises was quite fraught. Frankly, I can understand why so many independent retailers have decided to close.

"From my perspective, a big cause of why the high street is struggling, even somewhere as popular and affluent as York, is a widening gap between what landlords think their properties are worth and what tenants can offer them.

"Thankfully the trustees for our landlords eventually came around to what I was proposing. Our rent has gone up, but not by nearly as much as they were expecting. I’m pleased we were able to do a deal.”

The new lease means that the antique centre will be able to undertake some long-planned renovations. This will involve a full refurbishment of the premises, including new branding, paint, carpets and much improved signage to help new visitors find their way around.

James added: “The whole retail scene in York is changing. When a business closes, a new business moves in almost immediately.

"Although total footfall into the city centre is falling, there are more hotel rooms available in York than ever before and they are all achieving excellent occupancy rates. I still see a very bright future for premium retailing in York. We are on course to hit record-breaking sales this year.”