1259 residents and 27 businesses have had their say over the future of Acomb’s Front Street, one of the city’s most important shopping areas, by taking part in COVID-secure market research, online surveys and conversations across social media to help shape the social and economic future of the high street. Local councillor and business owner Sue Hunter has taken the chance to thank all those who have taken the time to share their views.
The council committed to a £50,000 investment in Front Street before the pandemic brought about even larger challenges to high streets across the UK. The Council has also supported a series of trader-led initiatives to help improve the area, including Christmas lights, planters and floral tubs for the high street.
Ahead of the Council survey, 500 residents have already had a new COVID-secure knock on their door from IdB, a market research company working with the council. The council is working alongside IdB to ask for feedback and ideas from a diverse and representative cross section of Acomb residents.
It will take a few weeks for Council officers to assemble and process the results of the surveys. Resident views will be used to create a ‘brief’ of community ideas that will be brought before the council executive to decide what improvements to make.
Acomb’s Front Street plays a vital role in the community and the wider city, and is home to many established and well-loved local independent retailers and community spaces. It has a lower than national average proportion of empty units, with occupancy rates bucking the UK trend by increasing significantly in the last three years.
Councillor Sue Hunter, Liberal Democrat councillor for Westfield, commented:
“Whilst the past 12 months have presented major challenges for so many local businesses and residents, we have also seen people reconnect with their communities and use the independent, local shops which give York its special character. We now have a chance to combine that community spirit with the huge potential of Front Street to offer a welcoming place where local people can live, work and relax.
“As a local councillor and business owner in the area, I fully recognise the potential of the Front Street for both business as well as our local community.
“I’d like to thank the many residents who took the opportunity to have their say on the future of Front Street. I look forward to the ideas submitted by residents being taken forward to capitalise on the opportunities the Front Street area holds.”