The secret garden that is York's Stonegate Walk shopping arcade is set for yet another rebirth.

Once again the attractive but hidden arcade is in decline and is scheduled for another

Phoenix-like rise from the ashes.

The latest in-shops victim is the Rockwell Rooms, a once-popular restaurant with

outdoor tables for customers to sip coffee in the atrium-covered arcade, which has

suddenly shut.

Of the 22 shop units, only four have long-term leases while three others are unoccupied.

Depression has been hanging over the arcade for some time, but now owners, the

Oakgate Group, have unveiled a £5 million redevelopment package which might finally

cure the arcade's chronic ailment of obscurity.

The arcade could never succeed while its entrances - from Blake Street and Stonegate -

were little more than glorified hatches. Hundreds of thousands of tourists and shoppers

a year have tramped down Stonegate unaware the arcade was there.

Stonegate Walk needed a wide or welcoming entrance to lure the spenders.

Eleven months after taking over the arcade, Oakgate, hopefully, have come up with just

that - and a revamp which should put this vital retail area on the map.

The group has bought properties beside the two entrances in order to create attractive

shop windows into Stonegate Walk; and plans to merge the 22 shop units into four large

units, with luxury flats above one section.

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