Love Your High Street: The issues faced by businesses on Bar Street

Bar Street, Scarborough
Bar Street, Scarborough

Businesses on Bar Street have spoken of the issues they face in running their shops.

Although online shopping is a problem for many “real” shops, some businesses in Scarborough are affected by issues that could be dealt with locally.

Helen Henshaw from Splash Clothing

Helen Henshaw from Splash Clothing

Bar Street is a good example of this. Despite its ecletic character, footfall levels are nowhere near those recorded along the main shopping street and independent shops are asking for help to address the lack of visibility that seems to be letting them down.

Splash Clothing is one of Bar Street’s latest additions.

Having opened only a year ago, owner Helen Henshaw enjoyed a profitable summer but admits that there’s more that could be done to attract visitors and passers-by.

She said: “I watched a programme on television about Altrincham, how that’s been revived and revamped and the town is now buzzing and really excting. Scarborough doesn’t seem to have that, there’s a lot of downbeat feelings at the moment.

Lee Gough from The Amber Room

Lee Gough from The Amber Room

“The side streets always seem to be forgotten. I’ve seen it in other towns that streets like Bar Street have had umbrellas put up to attract the eye and make them more pleasant but the council doesn’t seem to want to help with stuff like that. Last year half of the Christmas lights weren’t working and this year my understanding is that we won’t have any so that’s not going to do us any good.”

A bit further down, at number 26, Lee Gough runs The Amber Room, a home and gift boutique.

Having moved from Great Yarmouth, a seaside town in Norfolk, Lee spoke of how amazed he was at the number of independent shops available in Scarborough.

However, he also says that areas like Bar Street could benefit from extra visibility.

He said: “Even people who live in Scarborough forget that Bar Street is here. I get so many people that say they haven’t been down here for years or even tourists that have been coming to Scarborough regularly, they suddenly discover Bar Street and say ‘oh I didn’t know you were here’. It’s a bit frustrating.

“We talked to the council about getting some funding a few years ago, to get the street done up more, get some signs at the end but the funding never materialised.”
Parking around town is also considered to be an issue.

Helen Henshaw is particularly concerned about the proposals to end free winter parking and charge visitors 10% more than previously, to enable residents to get a discount.

She said: “I don’t know about this idea of charging visitors more in the winter, I don’t think that’s a very good idea. It’s good for the town’s people because they’re going to get it cheaper but it’s not really visitor-friendly.”

Lee Gough also pointed out that parking is an issue not only for customers but for shop owners as well.

“It’s an issue for business owners because if you have a business in town you can’t get a business permit to park so I have to park by the Ambassador Hotel and walk down, which is a bit of a nightmare when you’ve got deliveries to drop off. Lately I’ve been parking in Palm Court and you’re talking about £6.50 a day which all builds up throughout the week so I think it puts business owners off because it’s costing us a fortune. And now that they’re charging through winter, that’s going to affect me.”