The number of empty shops in Hull city centre as trader says 'business isn't good'

An empty shop in Jameson Street, Hull
-Credit: (Image: LDRS)

There are currently at least 34 empty shops in Hull, a tally has shown following the unveiling of new powers which aim to fill them.

Hull Live went to the streets in Hull city centre best known for shopping, including Whitefriargate, King Edward Street and Jameson Street to see how many vacant units were in each. Meanwhile, a Whitefriargate trader gave his views on why some city centre stores are struggling.

It comes after the Government unveiled plans for councils to be given rent auction powers to take over empty shops and lease them out to small businesses and community groups. Levelling Up Minister Jacob Young said the powers would help bring high streets back to life and create jobs and opportunities for local people.


A total of four empty shops were counted in Prospect Street, including a space once occupied by one of the country's best-known high street names. The former Debenhams between Prospect Street and Ferensway has stood empty since 2021 after the company folded amid the coronavirus pandemic.

King Edward Street had seven empty units, including three in a row next to each other. There were five vacant shops in Jameson Street, including the ground floor of the Hammonds of Hull building which has stood empty since the food hall left in March 2023.

The former Debenhams in Prospect Street has stood empty since 2021
The former Debenhams in Prospect Street has stood empty since 2021 -Credit:LDRS

A planning application has been lodged by Lane 7 Ltd to turn it into a bowling alley and games bar and it is awaiting a decision. Carr Lane had four empty shops and Whitefriargate had seven.

A total of four empty retail units were in Paragon Street and one was in the Paragon Arcade which is home to a number of independent businesses. The one empty unit in Lowgate is the ground floor of King William House, currently on the market with Garness Jones.

The commercial property agent polled people on what they wanted to see there earlier this year. A cocktail bar and sushi restaurant were the most popular options.

Whitefriargate trader: 'Business isn't good at the moment'

Soner Aksoy, owner of the Snow Silver jewellery shop in Whitefriargate, said footfall had been low ever since they opened in September. The trader said: "We're here 9am to 5pm every day, it's often quite empty.

"We came from London originally but it was really expensive to have a business there, Hull's much cheaper. It seems like not many people come to this street to shop, the businesses that tend to do better are cafes and restaurants.

Soner Aksoy (right) and his partner Kubra own Snow Silver in Whitefriargate
Soner Aksoy (right) and his partner Kubra own Snow Silver in Whitefriargate -Credit:LDRS

"Some people do come to drink and shop too, but I think some of them are scared to come here because of the amount of street drinking. I'm here almost every day and almost every day I see it, so I think a lot of people would come here go somewhere else.

"But business isn't good at the moment generally, we've tried lots of things to bring people in. On Valentine's Day we put out roses and decorated the shop with petals that people could see from the outside but only one or two people came in.

"If we had to choice we'd move the shop somewhere else. But we have a lot of money invested in it already so we have to stay here."