A MAJOR sofa and furniture retailer is set to open a new showroom in York city centre next Monday.

The arrival of Sofa.com in Coppergate - coupled with the thoroughfare having a more pedestrian friendly feel after becoming one way only - is expected to revitalise the 'forgotten' street.

Sofa.com sells sofas, sofabeds, chairs and beds online but also has showrooms in London, Nottingham, Bath, Glasgow, Harrogate and Guildford, and concessions in some House of Fraser department stores.

Another empty property further along Coppergate also looks set to be occupied shortly, as a cafe, with signs in the windows saying: "Follow us on Instagram@alma cafeandgifts.. coming soon."

Businesses in Coppergate have complained in the past that it is York's 'forgotten street,' claiming that nothing was being done to improve the appearance of empty and boarded up premises.

John Terry, owner of Choice Direct tobacconists, said in 2019 that the street was becoming a ‘bit of a backwater' and others complained at a lack of Christmas lights, which made it seem a 'bit sad and drab' in the festive season.

The narrow pavements, with buses and taxis trundling past each other in both directions, used to make it unpleasant for shoppers.

But Coppergate was temporarily made one-way after the start of the pandemic in 2020, so as to give pedestrians more space to socially distance and also to allow for the creation of a cycle lane.

Under the new restrictions, buses and taxis were allowed to travel from Parliament Street to Clifford Street along Coppergate, but not in the other direction, with buses having to take a detour via Clifford Street, Tower Street and Piccadilly.

City of York Council decided earlier this year to make the street permanently one-way, subject to a consultation.

The authority said the change had created a quieter, more pleasant environment that felt safer for pedestrians and cyclists and had resulted in a 50 per cent reduction in traffic.

Cllr Andy D'Agorne, executive member for transport, said: “There are significant benefits that have been identified, not least the way in which this links to the Castle Gateway scheme which hopefully is going to open up a much more attractive, much busier area of a city around Clifford’s Tower and Castlegate.”

Andrew Hedley, of Blacks Property Consultants Ltd, who was involved in letting the premises to Sofa.com, said it was a 'great letting in what is a revitalised street.'

He said: "Hopefully, traffic measures and a major letting will get the street back on the map.

"Whilst there is still traffic, the environment just seems to be much calmer, with improved air quality one assumes and certainly safer for crossing from one side to the other.

"On a more practical note, fascias will also stay cleaner for longer."