Make-overs for empty shops

Knaresborough High Street
Knaresborough High Street

Knaresborough High Street is in line for an innovative scheme designed to help struggling town centres regenerate.

Two empty shops on the High Street are being considered as new sites for “shopjackets” after a similar scheme in Ripon took over an empty shop in the city centre.

“Shopjacket” uses 3D vinyl images to spruce up empty shops, in the hope of making them more attractive to potential shopkeepers.

Harrogate Borough Council’s Economic Development Unit has now put aside funds for the scheme in two empty units on Knaresborough High Street.

Owner and founder of “Shopjacket” Paul Murphy said the 3D vinyls are just one part of wider initiatives that can breathe new life into dwindling town centre shopping areas.

Mr Murphy said: “The project in Ripon was quite well received, so we have been asked to look at a couple of sites in Knaresborough.

“Part of the problem with shopping in the UK at the moment is people moan about Tesco, but many other shops just aren’t good enough.

“We make shops look as good as they can to show what can be achieved, and to create attention in the area.”

Independent shops need to become more welcoming and appealing, and open at times when more people can use them , in order to thrive, he added.

Mr Murphy also wants to see better training offered to people thinking about opening independent shops, to encourage young people to go into the retail trade, and to make sure that new businesses survive.