A GROWING number of small retailers have been eyeing up York, according to Make It York.

The organisation which has a remit to promote the city to new businesses and drive inward investment said the pandemic had impacted on business relocation plans and the opening of new units.

But, it had seen more interest from start-ups and small independents.

"The challenge remains with those larger spaces, but we continue to work with property holding companies and investors to look at potential for alternative uses to ensure the city centre space remains alive and vibrant," said Sean Bullick, managing director.

He said Make It York had had to tailor its work during lockdown to help existing businesses survive the impacts of the pandemic.

"For retail, our focus has been on promoting a ‘shop local’ message, showcasing the online and delivery options the city’s businesses offer, as well as helping to safely draw visitors and residents back into the city centre.

York Press:

York city centre, deserted in the third national lockdown. Picture: Nadia Jefferson-Brown

"Ensuring the city centre is revitalised post-Covid will be critical to the continued success of businesses across the tourism, hospitality and retail sectors and our focus will be on creating opportunities to safely increase footfall and dwell time to help spend levels increase."

These will include 'vibrant city centre activities and events' in the city centre for both residents and visitors.

"York has a very diverse retail offer with a wonderful array of independents and we are very optimistic about our ability to bounce back post-Covid," he added.

"In the current climate, the overall experience is key for a city to thrive. From retail, culture and leisure, to hospitality and events, York has an incredible offer and that creates a strong platform from which we can start to rebuild."