Local traders welcome increased footfall from Yorkshire Energy Park development
Local traders are backing a proposal to invest in the Humber region, creating thousands of jobs in the area and increasing foot traffic to their town.
Hedon Traders Association is offering their full support to the Yorkshire Energy Park development, which they believe will increase footfall in the town and help local businesses, new and old, blossom and grow.
If planning permission is granted, 4,480 jobs will be created from the development, including indirect jobs as a result of new business startups and the positive impact on local businesses.
Andy Shimmon, who owns Calceus, a shoe repair and key cutting shop in St Augustine’s Gate, Hedon, and chairs Hedon Traders Association said: “I see the Yorkshire Energy Park as a lifeline for Hedon.
“The high street is always changing, as everybody knows, and I feel the extra footfall this will hopefully generate will help us all in the long term.
“I think it’s great for future generations and I don’t see a bad part of it.
“It will generate new jobs, it’s an educational site, it’s not a factory bellowing out smoke, and the sports facilities will be second to none.
“But the main thing for me is the increase we will hopefully see in footfall. I’m not naïve enough to think it’s going to be a cure to the problem we have in Hedon. But I think it will help towards it.
“My dad started this shop 40 years ago and a lot of businesses have been here for the same amount of time. We don’t have a massive turnaround of shops. If we can get just 50 extra people into the town per week, I would be happy with that.
“If you stand still in retail, you die. You have to move with the times.”
Figures from the town centre survey, carried out as part of the East Riding of Yorkshire Council Town Centres and Retail Study reveal that in the last ten years the commercial profile of the town has changed significantly, with the number of retail outlets dropping from 52% in May 2008 to 39% in October 2018. Whilst there has been an increase in service and comparisons stores, overall vacant units have increased.
In addition, some of the buildings that had previously driven shoppers to the town, including the Post Office and HSBC Bank, have since left their buildings vacant and there is a feeling there are less people coming into the town.
Neil Jowsey, co-owner of Hedon Carpets & Beds in Market Place, Hedon, said: “From a retail perspective, figures are down in Hedon. We have lost so much because of the negative impact of losing the Post Office and HSBC bank.
“If any additional properties or people come into the area, everyone is going to benefit from that. It could mean regeneration of this area. We all need each other and we are all in this together. We want to see shops full of diverse trades.”
Claire Cheesman, owner of Occasions of Hedon in Market Place, said: “The loss of key businesses locally has had an impact in recent years. Hedon used to be thriving.
“I hope the energy park can bring jobs to Hedon and people can shop locally at lunch times, spend the weekends here and see what Hedon has to offer.
“The Yorkshire Energy Park looks very promising.”
Hedon-born Jayne Hampshire, owner of Nutmegs Café, has been based in Market Place for 11 years but in business in the local area for a total of 32 years.
She said: “We need the Yorkshire Energy Park. I think it will be good for the area, bring jobs, bring people and give the area a lift.
“My business is social, so it is a little bit different. But we have noticed a decline of people in recent years, especially since the bank and Post Office went.
“The atmosphere and buzz has been knocked out of the town, and we want that back.
“Hopefully people will visit us and it will be positive for the local area. I am absolutely in support of the plans.”
Rob Munro, owner of Hedon Media in St Augustine’s Gate, Hedon, has noticed the quiet spells in the town and is excited for the boost that Yorkshire Energy Park will give local trade.
He said: “The Yorkshire Energy Park is a good thing, especially for traders.
“It seems pretty good in the way it’s going to be laid out and the new sports facilities look great.
“It’s not just great for Hedon, it’s great for the wider area and its future.
“I hope it will bring footfall to the area because Hedon is very quiet at the moment.”
The Yorkshire Energy Park is a potential new development located on the former Hedon Aerodrome site on the outskirts of Hull, within the village of Preston South, to the west of Hedon.
The proposals include an energy centre, data centre and disaster recovery suite, space for established and start-up businesses and SME growth, a National Centre of Excellence for education, training and research alongside associated short-stay accommodation, an outdoor building materials and testing facility, and new sports facilities for the community.
Due to the uniqueness of Yorkshire Energy Park, a number of multi-national and national brand names have already announced their support for the plans, including E.ON, Asanti, Dell, SSE, BYD and Legal & General and the recently announced Hull College Group.
The scheme is being brought forward by locally-based Sewell Group, Hessle-based communications company MS3 Networks and development company Chiltern Group.
The development team has carried out over 1,000 hours of public engagement to ensure the plans have been developed with the community.
Yorkshire Energy Park’s Project Director, Claire Harrison, welcomed feedback from traders:
“As part of our ongoing consultation programme we recently met with local traders and we welcomed the positive feedback on the plans to date.
“We’ll be keen to keep an open dialogue should the scheme be given the go ahead, to ensure we follow up on their suggestions presented to date.
Maximising the economic benefit locally is a big driver for us. We’ll look local first for our supply chain and have set a target of 80% local labour throughout the construction period.”
An outline planning application was submitted in May 2017, with a decision by East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s Planning Committee expected shortly.