Pavers shoes: Councillors urged to show 'York is open for business' by backing revised expansion plans that could create 130 jobs

Councillors have been urged to demonstrate York is “open for business” by backing revised expansion plans by city footwear firm Pavers which could create 130 jobs.

The company is seeking to expand its headquarters at Northminster Business Park by adding more than 11,000 sq m to its logistics and distribution facility.

An original version of the £10m plan was controversially rejected by the City of York’s planning committee in November 2022 on the grounds it would have been partially built on the green belt. The decision caused an angry backlash, with retired health economist Prof Nick Bosanquet telling the York Press that the proposal had been rejected to save “one half of a potato field”.

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A revised application was submitted last year in an attempt to address the concerns raised by the committee and is expected to be determined in the coming weeks.

Sarah Czarnecki is among those backing the calls.Sarah Czarnecki is among those backing the calls.
Sarah Czarnecki is among those backing the calls.

Sarah Czarnecki, president of York & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, today said the scheme should be given the green light.

“Pavers is a York success story, having been founded by Catherine Paver in 1971 in the city,” she said. The firm now boasts 180 stores and employs 1,750 people nationwide, 300 of which are based at its York headquarters.

“The proposed expansion plans will be of significant benefit to the city of York. As well as creating another 130 skilled jobs, the majority being skilled roles to meet the needs of the high technology logistics operations, the expansion has been forecast to generate an additional £6.44m GVA annually for York – which, when added to the existing operation, is worth an incredible £222.29m over 10 years.

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“Bosses at Pavers have carried out a comprehensive and painstaking review of its proposals in order to address the issues given for refusal 18 months ago.

“Given the efforts gone to by Pavers, and the enormous economic benefits its plans will mean for York’s economy and society, it is the Chamber’s strong view that it should be granted by planners.

“Granting permission would send a clear message that York is a city that is not only open for business, but a place to invest in and create jobs.

“I call upon planners to think of York’s future and give Pavers its full backing.”​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

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The scheme has received objections from some nearby residents but others to back the revised application include York Outer MP Julian Sturdy.

He said: “This scheme would retain and deliver new high-quality jobs and help to scale up a major local business which contributes significantly to York’s economy. The development would represent a £6.44m annual GVA boost for the local economy.

“I am aware of Pavers’ growth in online activity over recent years, which has seen operational capacity reached at Northminster Business Park. There is a clear and compelling rationale for expansion here in York. If York is to retain major businesses like Pavers, we should not put blockers in their way to sustainability and sensibly expand.

"Approving this planning application would send a positive message that York is open for business and works with local companies, not against them.”

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