'Manic' end to year for Cottingham traders as Christmas shoppers ignore the rain
TRADERS in Cottingham have said there was a buzz in the village over the festive season.
It was a slow start to the year, with a quiet January.
But Charles Rawlings, who runs John Ford Menswear in the village centre, said Christmas shoppers had turned out in droves.
He said: "We've had a good Christmas.
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"It's been manic for the past month.
"It was a slow start but we had a good end."
Mr Rawlings helps organise the village's Christmas lights, the biggest display in the East Riding.
Although turnout was down on last year, hundreds still braved heavy rain to see them switched on.
Mr Rawlings said: "The Christmas lights went down very well. We had a good response. They brought a vast amount of people to the village.
"It was just torrential rain on the day but people still came out."
The lights will be turned off in mid-January.
Mr Rawlings and his committee of volunteers will then begin preparations for next year's display.
Mr Rawlings said a new coffee shop may have helped improve December trade.
A Costa Coffee opened in the village centre after being granted planning permission in September.
At the time it divided opinion, with some traders afraid it might draw visitors away.
The shop was supported by councillors Lena Slater and Ros Jump.
After permission was granted, Cllr Slater said: "Having something like this will attract new people into Cottingham.
"Unfortunately, we lost one café when Woodhead's bakery closed in Hallgate, so this will only even things up.
"Unlike some places, Cottingham isn't dying as a shopping centre and this will only benefit the village."
Mr Rawlings believes the shop has boosted footfall.
He said: "The Costa seems to have brought a lot of people in.
"There have been faces in the shop we've not seen before."
Another divisive moment this year came when planning permission was granted for a supermarket in Station Road.
Developer Innovating Space said the store, likely to be occupied by Morrisons, would create up to 250 jobs.
Mr Rawlings remains unconvinced it will benefit the village.
He said: "I don't know what the supermarket will do – I'm in two minds about it.
"We've got to make the best of a bad job."
But he does not think it will directly compete with his own shop.
Mr Rawlings said: "It's more of a food thing.
"If it was doing clothing, it wouldn't be the same type as ours.
"We've got brands nobody else has."