‘This does not make sense’ – City centre retailers hit out at Designer Outlet’s huge expansion plan

York Designer Outlet. Photograph © Google Street View
20 Jan 2020 @ 7.46 am
| Environment

City centre retailers are urging the council to support them by rejecting York Designer Outlet’s huge expansion plan.

They are objecting to the Naburn shopping centre’s bid to build an extension for 25 new shops and restaurants alongside 630 parking places.


The York BID (Business Improvement District) and York Retail Forum say that the expansion would directly hit city centre retail “which continues to face a challenging climate with competition from out of town retail offers and the rise in internet shopping”.

In a joint objection to the designer outlet’s plans, they urge City of York Council to reject the plans – and several Coppergate Centre shops have separately registered their own opposition.

‘Viewed extremely negatively’

An artist’s impression of the expanded Designer Outlet. Image: planning documents
The BID and Retail Forum submission makes the point that “York as a city, already has a disproportionate amount of out of town retail per head of population of any city in the UK”.

They say:

  • Vacant units exist in the city centre and other locations such as Clifton Moor.

    Allowing more retail floorspace would not show a commitment from City of York Council to addressing some of the current retail issues. It is also ignoring the wide issue of out of town retail parks across the UK beginning to suffer increasing vacancy rates.

    Creating an extra 630 car parking spaces, all that will be free of charge to customers will be viewed extremely negatively by current city centre retailers that rely on customers paying significant fees to access city centre parking.


And the car parking would contradict the council’s plans to reduce CO2 emissions.

They add: “Allowing the creation of new retail floorspace at a time that hundreds of vacant square metres exist within the city centre, Monks Cross and Clifton Moor does not make sense.”

Coppergate shop objections

The Coppergate brolly walk
Another objection comes from Redevco, which is a leaseholder of unit 10 in the Coppergate Shopping Centre, housing Topshop, Topman and Miss Selfridges.

It is objecting on the grounds that it is an inappropriate and harmful development in the green belt – and its impact on York city centre business, saying:

  • The proposal to expand the Outlet, against the recommendations of the Council’s evidence base and emerging Local Plan, would undermine the ability for York City Centre to retain and attract new retailers and would compromise future planned improvements, thus threatening the prospect of potential future schemes to come forward.

The damage to the green belt, and the harm to “ecology, landscape and visual amenity”, have also seen Fulford Parish Council to oppose the plans.

5 thoughts on “‘This does not make sense’ – City centre retailers hit out at Designer Outlet’s huge expansion plan

  1. Council rates should be in direct proportion to foot fall, as that changes rates go up and down, this would incentives councils to get more people into the town / city.
    You can not expect retailers to pay more and more council tax when there income is reducing.

  2. Being a York resident I like being able to have the best of both worlds, it isn’t pleasant shopping in the busy summer months or even on a Saturday afternoon in the centre of York to have the designer outlet as an option is great. I think the shops that are going out of business in the centre go out of business because they have been succeeded by businesses that are in demand at present. How many people under the age of 30 shopped in BHS before it closed I wonder? Also there is a lot of competition in York between small businesses, fudge shops for instance! I can’t see how a few more shops in the designer outlet will impact on this type of trading. I personally love shopping in the centre of York but for very different reasons to those of the outlet, I can’t get the same things in the outlet that I can get in the centre of York – apart from Thorntons but that’s hardly a small business and I’d much prefer to purchase from a local artisan in the centre of York than purchasing from a chain like Thorntons in the outlet.

  3. I think it is a good idea in summer the streets in the city centre are crowded and it puts off people who live in York.Also it would give people more space to park and take the bus into town which would make the city centre streets less crowded. Has a person who lives in York I would probably feel safer and enjoy the city centre more. I do think the council needs to make more affordable shops available in the city centre eg Wilkos there aren’t enough shops like that perhaps you should make the rents in the town centre more affordable then businesses would stay in York.

  4. As a Small Business Owner in York City Centre, this is the last thing that we need right now. Out of town shopping has added to the demise of the City Centre and York cannot rely on tourism alone to survive. More investment in the City Centre is what is needed.

  5. Let’s face it the City has failed in taking action much, much earlier to revitalise the City Centre and I have no confidence in their ability to deliver the latest plan. The city is now full of cafes, pubs and eateries and that will be difficult to change. The designer outlet provides a weatherproof environment, easy parking and is a ideal place to access the city by park and ride. Good luck to them in their expansion, they do need a wider offering, so perhaps the city should try working with them and come up with a joint plan

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