Under fire City of York Council has hit back after its plans to shut one end of Shambles were heavily criticised.
The Pavement end of the famous street will be shut to all from Monday (11 September) for four weeks.
It is to enable the installation of the anti-terror bollards like those going in to Lendal and Goodramgate this summer.
The council set up a stall in York market to talk to people about this phase of the project yesterday (Wednesday).
Shopkeeper Phil Pinder of the Shambles Area Traders’ Association went to raise his concerns at the stall.
Afterwards, he was heavily critical of the need to close off an entire end of the Shambles for the work, saying it could cost traders thousands, would damage the cobbles and had not been fire assessed.
However, a council spokesperson said: “The overwhelming response was pragmatic and most of the traders spoken with were supportive and agreed that the work needs to be done to make their businesses, employees and customers even safer, and accepted the short-term inconvenience.”
They said “six out of seven access points into the Shambles will remain open as will vehicle access via Kings Square”.
‘Not going to fret’
Matthew Kaplan, owner of The Cheesecake Guy shop on Shambles, told the council: “This work is a necessity.
“It’ll be a bit of a nuisance, but people will still find their way into the Shambles. It’s not going to affect Christmas so I’m not going to fret about it.”
Cllr Pete Kilbane, executive member for economy and transport, said: “Thank you to everyone who came along to talk to us, the vast majority of whom understood why we’re doing this essential security work across the city centre.
“It will remove the need in future for the unsightly, temporary barriers that detract from the charm of the Shambles.
“We aim to improve accessibility while keeping people and businesses safe in the long-term, ensuring our economy continues to prosper.”
Neil Ferris, the council’s director of place, said: “We recognise and apologise for the impact that this essential work is having on businesses and residents in the city centre.
“We have worked hard with the contractor to maximise safe public access – often in confined spaces – and to minimise the length of time the work will take while meeting standards and without adding significant costs to the programme.”
In response, Phil Pinder said: “I hope the traders who think this won’t affect them are proven correct, but we already know closing one side of Goodramgate badly affected trade for many businesses in that location, never mind blocking off one entire end of the street!
“The council are the majority landlord for Shambles, which I am told gives tenants an opportunity to look at legal action to recover losses.
“It is a shame we have this, when we have put sensible solutions forward like building an entrance through the churchyard to the bottom of the street, to keep that end of the street open.”