Spring Bank, Hull: New plans for 'traditional' shop fronts and outdoor seating in Yorkshire city

Spring Bank could see new public spaces, the restoration of “traditional-style” shop fronts, and outdoor seating for drinking and dining, under council proposals.

A new masterplan for the area also includes ideas for street markets, better lighting to improve safety, and the redevelopment of disused land. The document highlights how the historic street has suffered from years of neglect, but has the potential to become a “primary centre” for the surrounding area.

Hull City Council’s planning committee agreed to send the masterplan for consultation in April. Work could begin in around two years’ time, but could take around 20 years to complete.

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According to the Spring Bank Conservation Area Masterplan, the street is of historical importance because of the architectural styles of its buildings, including examples from the Georgian and Victorian periods. However, the street has declined due to increased traffic, a lack of maintenance and the conversion of historic houses into HMOs.

A building in Spring Bank with a mural. Picture is my own, available for all LDRS partners to use.A building in Spring Bank with a mural. Picture is my own, available for all LDRS partners to use.
A building in Spring Bank with a mural. Picture is my own, available for all LDRS partners to use.

Residents have complained about crime, a lack of bins, graffiti, antisocial behaviour and pavements being obstructed by goods displayed outside shops. They have also called for disused land and buildings to be brought back into use. However, according to the document, residents have also pointed to strengths including diversity, a sense of community and beautiful old buildings.

Under the plans, businesses on the north side of Spring Bank could establish outdoor drinking and dining spaces, while new benches, bins and planters could be added. Street food markets could be established in parking spaces and service bays, which could be closed temporarily for the purpose.

Shopfronts could be restored to resemble historic examples, with old photographs used for reference. Building owners could be encouraged to maintain them properly through incentives and planning enforcement. Disused land, such as the site of the former government offices near the Tesco Express store, could be redeveloped into public spaces.

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The masterplan concedes that diverting traffic away from Spring Bank, one of the main routes in and out of Hull city centre, is not feasible in the short term. In the longer-term, a move towards electric cars and alternative modes of transport could improve the situation.

Russell Moor in Spring Bank, HullRussell Moor in Spring Bank, Hull
Russell Moor in Spring Bank, Hull

What happens next?

The consultation on the plans will begin in April. If the masterplan receives final approval, work on some aspects could begin within two years, though it could take 15-20 years to bring some of the ideas to fruition. Some of the earliest work could include the restoration of shopfronts, new electric vehicle charging points, and new bus shelters with real-time information displays.

“Spring Bank has the potential to become a primary district centre for the wider Spring Bank, Spring Bank West and Princes Avenue residential areas,” the masterplan states. “It has however, suffered from neglect over more recent years since its designation as a conservation area.

“Spring Bank is an area with its own unique character with the opportunity to provide high quality housing, shops, cafes, restaurants and community uses that are a focus of activity throughout the day and night. In order to achieve this, action is needed to improve the quality of both the built environment and the public realm.”

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