Flourishing Ilkley bucks declining retail trend

The flourishing West Yorkshire town of Ilkley is bucking the decline in the UK’s retail sector, according to leading Yorkshire property consultancy DE Commercial.

Richard Heslop, managing director of Ilkley-based DE Commercial, revealed that confidence in the town’s economy, including its independent retail sector, was high.

DE Commercial has just completed two retail deals in the Grove area of the town.

Mr Heslop said: “The recent headlines about high street retail, notably the decline of well-known names such as Debenhams, Accessorize and LK Bennett, have been consistently depressing. So it’s worth telling a good news story about Ilkley and its thriving shopping scene.

“We have just helped two established Ilkley retailers, Nora’s Interiors and Gifts and The Ilkley Dress Agency, expand into larger premises at the western end of The Grove. They have relocated from elsewhere in the town. This end of the popular Grove is now a vibrant area, full of successful independent shops, which is seeing a significant increase in footfall,” he explained.

DE Commercial marketed 58 The Grove, a 715 sq ft shop, which is now the home of Nora’s Interiors and Gifts, and 56 The Grove, comprising 625 sq ft, which is now occupied by The Ilkley Dress Agency.

Mel Upham, who bought the The Ilkley Dress Agency in November last year, explained: “The business was first established back in 1988 and for over 30 years traded from the Arcade in Ilkley. The lease expired at the time of purchase, so I approached Richard Heslop of DE Commercial and Richard brokered the deal for me at my prestigious new address – 56 The Grove.

“Professional throughout the negotiation and agreement of the lease with my new landlord, Richard Heslop was also very responsive, helpful and answered any questions or concerns I had in a timely manner. His approach was reassuring and when I signed the lease, I felt very confident and happy that this was the perfect location for the Ilkley Dress Agency.

She added: “Since re-opening on The Grove, my business has prospered and grown significantly. Of course, Richard was a key part of making this happen.”

The award-winning Nora’s Interiors and Gifts, which opened in 2010, has also relocated from the Arcade in the centre of Ilkley.

Owner Victoria Kemp explained: “We were placed in a position where we had to find premises to relocate our established business to within the town. With limited options to suit our requirements at the time, Richard Heslop was incredibly helpful throughout the whole process.

“Right from the first email, he responded swiftly to our enquiry and he helped us to secure 58 The Grove.  His calm and professional manner was hugely appreciated at what was a very stressful time.

“We signed our new lease in February this year and reopened at 58 The Grove earlier this month. We’re very happy in our new premises and we’re grateful for all the assistance Richard provided,” she added.

These were two of a raft of recent instructions for the newly-formed DE Commercial, based in Brook Street, Ilkley.

Richard Heslop, who has more than 25 years’ experience of the commercial property market, explained that he founded DE Commercial when the residential arm of property consultancy Dale Eddison, where he was a commercial property partner, was bought by Linley & Simpson.

“In these circumstances, it made perfect sense to launch DE Commercial as a stand-alone commercial property agency. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to consolidate and enhance our position as one of West Yorkshire’s premier independent commercial property consultancies. Our prime focus is on Airedale and Wharfedale, but we have worked on successful developments across the north of England.

Recent major successful developments in which Richard Heslop has been heavily involved include the 150,000 sq ft Baildon Business Park, where record sales values for the region were achieved on the commercial buildings; Whiteley Court Business Park in Pool-in-Wharfedale; and a 15-acre former steelworks site in Co. Durham, sold on to developers for residential development.