Call to ban cars from Fossgate for good

One of York’s most distinctive streets could go car-free.

A plan to pedestrianise Fossgate will be considered at a council meeting.

It follows the Green Party asking the council to look again at a £500,000 scheme to upgrade the street, saying it fails to “achieve a pedestrianised environment” or link the street to the rest of the city centre.

Speaking at a council meeting on Monday (November 5), Cllr Denise Craghill said the plans are “timid, half-hearted and half a job”.

The current scheme includes widening the pavement, planting trees and creating better road crossings.

Support on the street

Sarah Lakin, of the Fossgate Association, said: “It’s very much our wish to see Fossgate pedestrianised.

“One of the reasons we set up the Fossgate Festival was to show that you could pedestrianise that street quite happily.

“We do support the current proposals but it still looks pretty much like a standard street.”

Under the current proposals, Fossgate would be narrowed so the pavements can be widened. Benches and bike stands will be installed and traffic signs will be put up.

A council report says construction work is due to take place on the improvement scheme in February and March 2019, and council officers raised concerns over funding if the project does not go ahead as planned.

Public inquiry risk

Fossgate already holds car-free festival days. Photograph: Richard McDougall
At the meeting, council officers said pedestrianising the street at this stage could risk a public inquiry because there has not been a consultation on the matter.

They said it would be better to look at pedestrianising the street after the work is completed and added that it is unlikely many changes would need to be made to the works if pedestrianisation went ahead.

Councillors voted for a recommendation that the executive member for transport, Cllr Peter Dew, consider pedestrianising the street as soon as possible at a decision session on the Fossgate plans on November 15.