Why 250 city centre businesses say no to new Kingswood Retail Park
Hull city centre traders who have signed a petition opposing plans to extend Kingswood retail park
By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 4 Sep 2017
A petition will be handed into the council today (Monday,September 4) ahead of the proposal going to the planning committee on Wednesday.
The traders say the out-of-town development will take customers away from the centre of Hull, threatening their businesses and regeneration in the area.
The petition has been organised by Hull Business Improvement District (Hull Bid), which represents large and small traders within the city centre.
Kingswood Parks Development Company and Kier Property have resubmitted plans for a development of 10 shops, cafes and restaurants, totalling 120,000 sq ft, on land next to the new Next store.
Kathryn Shillito, city centre manager for Hull Bid, said: “Traders right across the city centre are alarmed about these plans and the hugely detrimental impact they would have if approved.
“The concerns are shared by a wide spectrum of businesses, especially independent traders who fear for their futures if the viability of the city centre is undermined by this damaging proposal.
“The city centre is starting to turn a corner, but many businesses are still struggling and the recovery is very fragile. Our members have endured huge disruption during the public realm works, with many businesses only just beginning to recoup lost earnings.
“They are now very worried that this development will halt the recovery of the city centre in its tracks by diverting much-needed investment and taking vital footfall away from the heart of the city.
“Approval for this development would contradict planning policy, undermine the regeneration of the city centre and be another setback for traders who have worked so hard to keep their businesses going.”
Plans for the development have been altered after being rejected by Hull City Council last year because of the impact the development could have on other traders.
Graham Williams, manager of Dinsdale’s joke shop in Hepworth’s Arcade, which has been trading in Hull for 84 years, said: “Footfall has dropped off a cliff over the past two years because of the public realm works. I was thinking ‘how long can we keep going?’
"There used to be three of us in the shop, now mostly it’s just me.
“It’s levelled off now and we need the people who stopped coming into the city centre to return, but why should they if more and more retail is built in the suburbs?”
Objections to the application have also been submitted by the owners of the St Stephen's, Princes Quay and Prospect Centre shopping centres and developers leading the regeneration of the Fruit Market.
Marion Ring, owner of The Tea Shop in Trinity Indoor Market, which has undergone a £3m refurbishment said: “We’ve finally got a city centre we can be proud of. It’s beautiful, but we need more shops and more shoppers.
“It would be a crime to let more good, local independent traders go under. We all stood by the council during the public realm works – we need the council to stand up for us now.
“There are still too many vacant units in the city centre. We need to fill those, not create more units out of town, so people come in to shop and see Hull as a shopping destination.”
In August, developers behind the Kingswood Retail park expansion said they remained hopeful that the application for the £32m development will be approved.