Concerns over Ripon’s empty shops mounts

Ripon's Market Place is home to a number of empty shops.
Ripon's Market Place is home to a number of empty shops.

The Greater Ripon Improvement Partnership (GRIP) has pledged to support the opening of Costa Coffee, following concerns about the number of empty shops in Ripon.

At a public meeting held on Thursday, November 22 at Ripon town hall, residents expressed their worries to GRIP about the amount of closed shops populating the city centre.

Attended by 30 people, GRIP told the crowd at the meeting about what they have achieved since their formation in 2009 and their plans to boost Ripon’s economy.

The partnership announced their support for Costa Coffee, despite objections from local traders and residents intent on gathering signatures for a ‘No to Costa Coffee’ petition, after Harrogate Borough Council approved the planning application last month. Costa plans to move into the old Bonmarché site on Fishergate.

GRIP’s chairman, Judith Donovan, told the Gazette: “We believe every shop is good for Ripon. We pointed out at the meeting that Costa opens on a Sunday and it provides jobs for local people.

“The burning issue at the moment is the number of empty shops and no amount of wishing will provide a Marks & Spencer or a Pizza Express in Ripon.

“That’s just not the way the world works I’m afraid.”

The partnership also plans to develop an ‘Adopt an Empty Shop’ programme, where shop keepers can help to keep empty neighbouring shops clean and tidy.

GRIP discussed the new £10,000 Government cash boost to promote the high street, awarded after the city failed in its bid to be a Mary Portas pilot town. GRIP maintained their core vision is to improve Ripon’s economy.