Thriving Castlegate traders create community

NAKP 1503034AM Castlegate traders. Andrew Grinter with fellow traders on Castlegate.(1503034AM)
NAKP 1503034AM Castlegate traders. Andrew Grinter with fellow traders on Castlegate.(1503034AM)

Shopkeepers and traders on Castlegate have come together as a community group, launching a website and planning a summer event.

More than a year after concerns were raised about the number of empty shops on the street, at least half a dozen new businesses have opened, injecting a new lease of life into the area.

Inspired by the success of Bishopthorpe Road or ‘Bishy Road’ in York, where businesses have worked together to promote the street as a whole destination, Andy Grinter owner of Art in the Mill decided to create the group and website.

He said: “These are real people, real businesses, real lives and we want people to know what we have to offer.

“There is a little bit of everything on Castlegate, Green Dragon Yard and Cheapside. I saw what happened with Bishopthorpe Road and the sense of community it created so we wanted to do the same.

“Recapture the sense of community from le Tour and keep it going.”

Around six new businesses have opened in the last year, nestling in amongst traditional favourites including Brymors ice cream shop and Castlegate Books.

Andy added: “There were a few changes but it is all great now, Becketts closed, but Six Poor Folk is doing well, it is round the corner, but still part of Castlegate.”

Sue Mcdonough opened up restaurant Honey Bee’s at Hannah’s on Castlegate in late August.

She runs the restaurant along with her mother and daughter, and specialise in vintage style afternoon teas.

She said:” We opened up late in the season so the support from local people has been great. It is exciting now we are starting to reach spring and meet new visitors.

“Visitors always chat about where to go and I always tell them to follow this road to the Castle and look in all the shops on the way.”

She added: “We have had such a brilliant welcome and it is such a good idea for all the businesses working together. I buy my meat from Huttons butchers, I bought all the stuff for decorating from Castlegate Hardware. I don’t need to go further than the end of this street.”

Alan Jones, landlord at the Cross Keys has worked at the pub for three and half years.

He said: “It is great that there are a lot more shops here now, a couple of years ago it could look a bit desolate at times, but now it is inviting and people are walking down out of the way of the Market Place towards us.

“All the regeneration works well, there are independent shops and it is good to know each other and work together on things.”

See www.visitcastlegate.co.uk for a shop directory and contact details.