ONE of York’s oldest butchers has closed its doors for the final time, citing council red-tape and corporate customers’ debts for the decision.

Scott’s Butchers has been at its Low Petergate home for 130 years.

But manager William Anderson said a combination of City of York Council’s strict regulations on vehicle access to the city centre and the fact that the business was owed “substantial sums” of money by restaurants and other catering firms had forced the closure decision.

Mr Anderson said two of the butchers’ debtors had become insolvent a couple of months ago, with the shop arranging a payment plan so half the money could be repaid to Scott’s.

“Over the last couple of months, business has been absolutely fantastic,” he said.

“We’ve been selling a hell of a lot of stuff and have been doing very well.”

But he said he had now heard rumours of further bankruptcies among businesses owning money to the shop. He said he and the owners of Scott’s had had to take the difficult decision to close now, while the business could still honour all its debts.

Mr Anderson said: “We’re wrapping things up so we can pay our suppliers, pay the staff’s wages and redundancy, and not be in any debt.

“If we went bankrupt, we’d take many other companies with us, and we don’t want to do that.

“In the current market, we don’t want to get to the point where we have to go bankrupt. I’d be leading suppliers on by buying from them – I’d be running the business the wrong way.”

He added: “I’d like to thank all our loyal customers.”

Mr Anderson said most of the shop’s trade was business-to-business sales to restaurants and other catering firms, with the retail side of the business “dying a death”.

He said: “I don’t blame anyone for shopping in a supermarket, because of the difficulty and expense of parking in the city centre – we have a lot of older customers who struggle to walk very far.

“A lot more needs to be done to help small businesses within the city centre survive – that includes all the market traders too.

He said larger national chains seemed to be given more leeway than smaller traders when it came to vehicle access.

“Our deliveries all have to be done in the morning, which has stopped us growing this business,” he said.

“We have people refusing to deliver to the shop because of traffic wardens who give them tickets if they’re parked up for more than five minutes.”

A council spokeswoman said: “There are specified times for deliveries to be carried out and these apply to all businesses.

“We have to balance the need for shops to receive deliveries with the need to ensure the safety of pedestrians accessing those shops.”

‘We’re the last business producing an official York ham’

SCOTT’S Butchers was established in 1878 and has been owned by Tim and Sarah Oliver since 2005.

“We bought the shop two-and-a-half years ago and have built it up since then,” manager William Anderson said.

“We’ve changed the business by using our own locally-produced livestock in the shop as much as possible and buying as little as possible from third-party suppliers.

“We kept the same staff, making pies in the shop the same way they’ve been made for 30 years.

“But trading has generally got more difficult and we’ve taken a couple of knocks from people going bankrupt on us.”

He said the city was losing a unique tourist attraction as well as a long-standing, successful small business.

“There’s nothing like this place anywhere else in the world – we’re the last business producing an official York ham,” he said.

“If I got a pound for every tourist who stops to take a picture of the shop, I’d have a thousand pounds by the end of every day.

“Around four million tourists come to York every year to see unique things.

“We don’t have to try hard to get them here, but we have to make it worthwhile for them once they’re here.

“The council aren’t doing anything to protect the heritage of the place.”

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