Pocklington visit to meet with the local business community

Thu, 26 May 2022

Councillor Jane Evison recently visited Pocklington to meet with the business community and discuss opportunities and challenges facing the town.

The portfolio holder for economic growth and tourism at East Riding of Yorkshire Council met with Town Mayor Stephen McCann, Town Councillors Roly Cronshaw and Leanne Ellis Alexieva, Ward Councillors Kay West and Councillor Paul West, and Gordon Scaife, clerk to the Town council, to visit local businesses and discuss how they have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. The walkabout included visits to the weekly Tuesday market to meet established and new traders, before visiting the award-winning Pocklington Arts Centre.

At the Arts Centre there was a meeting with the new venue manager Dave Parker and a visit to see the Jubilee Exhibition being hosted in the Studio along with the other facilities the Art Centre has to offer. Currently Barclays Bank are using part of the Arts Centre to continue a customer service presence twice a week following the closure of the local branch. There was also an opportunity to meet local businesses, including Celebrations, who have traded in the town for 25 years, as well as new businesses I Love Zero and Root.

In total, 11 organisations in Pocklington have secured grants from East Riding of Yorkshire Council's 'Love Your High Street Fund' to secure premises, fund refurbishments or invest in high street initiatives.

This has helped to support a range of diverse and innovative new businesses in the town centre ranging from retail and community activities to therapy and training. Despite a challenging trading period, Pocklington continues to demonstrate great appeal for traders with new businesses opening in the town centre helping to maintain the town centre vacancy rate at 5.1%, which is approximately a third of the Great Britain average.

Councillor Jane Evison, portfolio holder for economic investment, growth and tourism at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: "I really welcomed the opportunity to meet with fellow councillors and business owners in Pocklington recently to discuss and hear about the future aspirations for the town. Local businesses have shown great commitment and ingenuity to adapt to the challenges of the last two years.

"Pocklington Arts Centre is a fantastic asset for the area, and we continue to discuss options to make sure the council is supporting the centre as much as possible. In general, there was a great community atmosphere and a very warm welcome."

Councillor Stephen McCann, recently elected as the Mayor of Pocklington, said: "The visit was an excellent opportunity to discuss the challenges the town faces which include parking issues, the road surface, how we can encourage visitors to explore the lanes off Market Place, and surface water drainage."

The regular weekly Pocklington market is also performing well and has adapted accordingly in response to the closedown, including repositioning the stalls to segregate customers from pedestrians using the footway, as well as encouraging traders to use card machines and provide hand sanitiser.

Currently, stall occupancy stands at around 93% which compares favourably with other similar markets around the UK. Both during the COVID-19 pandemic and following the easing of restrictions there has been an increase in customer numbers to the market. This mirrors the national trend where markets are experiencing a renaissance, this is partly due to markets being one of the few places that people could interact with other people face to face during the pandemic.

East Riding of Yorkshire Council want to support ideas and initiatives that will help to revitalise and repurpose high street spaces and rural communities. The Love Your High Street Fund offers grants up to £5,000 to support ideas from local businesses, town/parish councils, organisations/community groups with projects that will revive high streets and help them to flourish for the future.

For further information about this grant please visit the website: https://loveyourhighstreet.co.uk/

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