CALLS have been made to turn Huntriss Row into an indoor shopping arcade as part of a new vision for Scarborough’s Town Centre.
The idea was raised at a meeting of Scarborough traders, who were invited to suggest ways of improving shopping in the town.
They were called together by Scarborough Council’s investment manager Nick Taylor, who wanted to discuss the Mary Portas retail report.
He said Scarborough needed to come up with a “new vision”.
Among the ideas put forward at the meeting was the suggestion of putting a roof over Huntriss Row.
Mr Taylor said: “The proposal has been around for some time.
“The success of the Victoria Quarter in Leeds was seen as the example to follow. Who would fund this is the big question. What is needed is a shared plan of how we change and improve the town centre in the future with views needed from all sectors, not just the retailers.”
During the meeting Mr Taylor revealed the town centre was faring comparatively well.
He said although Westborough had seen a 0.2 million drop in footfall year on year, the shop vacancy rate is 7.5 pent compared to a national average of 12.4 per cent for towns of a similar size.
“There is nothing to be throwing our hands up in the air in horror about, but we shouldn’t be sitting back complacently thinking we don’t need to do anything.” Mr Taylor said.
Traders at the meeting raised concerns about rumours surrounding the council offices moving out of the town centre, and what that will mean for footfall on the streets.
They also said Scarborough “needs to welcome the car” if it wants to progress, and bring parking charges down in line with other town centres.
The meeting was aimed at localising the Mary Portas report, which was commissioned by the Government in a bid to revitalise the high street.
Some retailers argued that Scarborough already had what was highlighted in the report before cuts were enforced by the council.
Ernie Gee, company director at Boyes, said: “About 12 years ago there was a move by traders to form a town centre management. We all worked together for years, and we had our own dedicated town centre manager.
“All the thing outlined in the report we had, and we were well regarded across the country for what we did.
“That was until the council got bored of it to the extent that they swept away the role.”
Pauline Elliott, head of regeneration and planning at the council hit back to say they had to cut the management team as the private sector was no longer supporting the scheme financially.
Mr Taylor said: “That has been done and there is nothing I can do about it. We can sit here and moan but nothing will change. What we can do is work together to make a change and move this town forward in to the future.
We need to develop a vision.”
Mr Taylor invited retailers to work with him on creating and building a combined “vision” which will be used to attract funding for future developments.