Recession? What recession? Beverley is bucking the trend

PUBLISHED: 12:08 01 December 2011 | UPDATED: 20:23 20 February 2013

Recession? What recession?  Beverley is bucking the trend

Recession? What recession? Beverley is bucking the trend

Recession? What recession? Jo Haywood finds out how Beverley is bucking the trend<br/>Photographs by Neil Holmes

When asked to name Yorkshires retail hot spots, casual shoppers would probably wave their wallets in the direction of Leeds, Harrogate, York and Sheffield. But those in the know are now adding another name to the list: Beverley.


Its not over-burdened with major high street players, but in recent years Beverley has begun to attract the sort of quality independent traders who would have previously opted for more obvious locations. This means that while other towns and cities across the country struggle to fill their empty shops, this East Yorkshire market town has people queuing up to do business in its already busy centre. One of Beverleys strong points is its strong retail offer and mix of well-known, national chains and lots of interesting, individual, independent shops, said Ben Gardiner, chairman of the towns Chamber of Trade.

The town also lends itself to wandering round. Everything is in walking distance, and there are plenty of places to pop in for a coffee or stop for a tasty lunch. Beverleys boom time is in stark contrast to other parts of Yorkshire and the country as a whole. Figures released by the British Retail Consortium show 11.2 per cent of all shops on high streets and in shopping centres are vacant a figure not reflected in Saturday Market, Walkergate or Toll Gavel where occupancy remains high and businesses are waiting up to three years to secure premises. A recent survey in East Yorkshire by the Federation of Small Businesses also found that traders are recording increased profits, taking


When asked to name Yorkshires retail hot spots, casual shoppers would probably wave their wallets in the direction of Leeds, Harrogate, York and Sheffield. But those in the know are now adding another name to the list: Beverley.

Its not over-burdened with major high street players, but in recent years Beverley has begun to attract the sort of quality independent traders who would have previously opted for more obvious locations. This means that while other towns and cities across the country struggle to fill their empty shops, this East Yorkshire market town has people queuing up to do business in its already busy centre.

One of Beverleys strong points is its strong retail offer and mix of well-known, national chains and lots of interesting, individual, independent shops, said Ben Gardiner, chairman of the towns Chamber of Trade.

The town also lends itself to wandering round. Everything is in walking distance, and there are plenty of places to pop in for a coffee or stop for a tasty lunch. Beverleys boom time is in stark contrast to other parts of Yorkshire and the country as a whole.

Figures released by the British Retail Consortium show 11.2 per cent of all shops on high streets and in shopping centres are vacant a figure not reflected in Saturday Market, Walkergate or Toll Gavel where occupancy remains high and businesses are waiting up to three years to secure premises.

A recent survey in East Yorkshire by the Federation of Small Businesses also found that traders are recording increased profits, takingon more staff and making long-term growth plans for the first time in five years, with the most overwhelming surge in positivity coming from Beverley.

It showed that the towns loyal customer base and its overall feeling of affluence were key factors in its success.

I think people saw us on the Antiques Roadshow and Songs of Praise and couldnt believe what they were missing, said town mayor Peter Astell. Beverley was featured on both programmes in a short space of time the BBC did us a real favour in terms of visitor numbers.

And its not just shoppers who flock to Beverley for its twice-weekly markets and annual Christmas festival market. The town gets its fair share of trippers in search of history and tippers in search of the best odds on their favoured horse too.

When it comes to history, the town, which dates back over a millennia, has a number of significant buildings, none more so that its architecturally awe-inspiring minster.

The Parish Church of St John and St Martin (to give it its Sunday name) took over 200 years to build and has attracted pilgrims from far and wide since it was completed in 1425. Its still a place of pilgrimage today for visitors searching for a place of peace at the heart of the community or, in the run-up to Christmas, a timeless gift in its well-stocked shop.

Another popular though notoriously less peaceful place of pilgrimage is the towns racecourse, which has hosted racing at its famous Westwood Pasture since 1690. There isnt any racing over the festive season, unless of course you count guests racing to the bar for a last drink at the numerous Christmas parties the course hosts every year, but the staff are already under starters orders preparing for next season, which begins in mid-April.

All in all its fair to say its been a good year for Beverley, and it looks like Christmas and the new year are going to prove equally as fruitful for this hard-working market town.

We have many attractions that make us a great day out, especially for Christmas shopping, said Ben. The town is steeped in history and the minster, St Marys Church and the North Bar are all visible reminders of the past.

Beverley has always celebrated Christmas in a big way. The markets draw in the crowds and the Christmas lights this year have the added attraction of the North Bar being lit up for the first time.

And as for 2012, I think it will be a good year for the town. Everyone knows how tough the last few years have beeneconomically, but Beverley has come through them better than most, and we can look forward with a lot of optimism.


Perfect poinsettias

Beverley Garden Centre is making a point or should that be poinsettia this Christmas of stocking UK-grown festive plants as part of its on-going Best of British campaign.

Teresa Corderoy, manager of the Woodmansey centre, explained: Our poinsettias are grown to the highest possible grade and we choose healthy, strong plants with large, colourful bracts.

We take pride in providing our customers with the best of British when it comes to plants and products wherever possible.

Poinsettias have been associated with Christmas since the 16th century. Legend has it that a young Mexican girl was too poor to provide a gift to celebrate Jesus birthday and gathered weeds from the roadside to place on the church altar instead. Crimson blossoms then sprouted from the weeds and transformed them into beautiful poinsettias.

The plant is indigenous to Mexico and Guatemala, and was named after Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first US minister to Mexico who brought it back home in 1828.

Although associated with Christmas, if properly cared for a poinsettia should bloom until March, giving plenty of colour in the house during the duller months, said Teresa.

A plant with a minimum of five flowers will give a longer lasting display. Its also wise to ensure your poinsettia is put into a sleeve before taking it out to your car and, once home, placed in a warm, draught-free spot.

Let the compost dry out between watering and, if its sitting on a saucer, make sure thats emptied out too. To get the absolute best from your poinsettia, nourish it once a week with houseplant feed.


Perfect poinsettias

Beverley Garden Centre is making a point or should that be poinsettia this Christmas of stocking UK-grown festive plants as part of its on-going Best of British campaign.

Teresa Corderoy, manager of the Woodmansey centre, explained: Our poinsettias are grown to the highest possible grade and we choose healthy, strong plants with large, colourful bracts.

We take pride in providing our customers with the best of British when it comes to plants and products wherever possible.

Poinsettias have been associated with Christmas since the 16th century. Legend has it that a young Mexican girl was too poor to provide a gift to celebrate Jesus birthday and gathered weeds from the roadside to place on the church altar instead. Crimson blossoms then sprouted from the weeds and transformed them into beautiful poinsettias.

The plant is indigenous to Mexico and Guatemala, and was named after Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first US minister to Mexico who brought it back home in 1828.Although associated with Christmas, if properly cared for a poinsettia should bloom until March, giving plenty of colour in the house during the duller months, said Teresa.

A plant with a minimum of five flowers will give a longer lasting display. Its also wise to ensure your poinsettia is put into a sleeve before taking it out to your car and, once home, placed in a warm, draught-free spot.

Let the compost dry out between watering and, if its sitting on a saucer, make sure thats emptied out too. To get the absolute best from your poinsettia, nourish it once a week with houseplant feed.


Getting there: This East Yorkshire market town lies just off the A1079 and A614 in the triangle between York, Bridlington and Hull.

Parking: Central, paid-for parking is available at School Lane, Butcher Row and Saturday Market.

Where to visit: The minster is a must, of course, but you can also take a step back to medieval times by taking a stroll along Beverley Town Trail.


Getting there: This East Yorkshire market town lies just off the A1079 and A614 in the triangle between York, Bridlington and Hull.

Parking: Central, paid-for parking is available at School Lane, Butcher Row and Saturday Market.

Where to visit: The minster is a must, of course, but you can also take a step back to medieval times by taking a stroll along Beverley Town Trail.



The print version of this article appeared in the December 2011 issue of Yorkshire Life

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