Traders on Shambles have reacted with anger to the news that pedestrians will have restricted access to the street for five weeks.
York’s most famous thoroughfare is the next one set to have the anti-terror bollards installed.
Businesses have just had a letter through from CR Reynolds, which is carrying out the installation, informing them that work will start on Monday, 11 September.
And not only will Shambles be closed to traffic, it will be shut to pedestrians from the Pavement end.
Phil Pinder is a founder of the York High Street Forum and co-owner of The Potions Cauldron on Shambles.
He said he’s spent the last year asking City of York Council what curbs would be introduced while the bollards were installed, and was told told “just vehicles would be restricted”.
“Then all of a sudden, with a few days’ notice, we’re now in limbo – the street that managed to survive the plague. can’t survive a few bollards being put up,” he told YorkMix.
“Basically, it’ll be a pedestrian bottleneck. We all know how busy the Shambles gets.
“It’s going to have a severe effect on business. If you hinder people from freely walking down the street, they might think Shambles is completely closed – especially when they see barricades across the end of the street.”
Phil said October half term is the busiest footfall week for the Shambles, thanks to businesses like the York Ghost Merchants and The Shop That Must Not Be Named being popular in Halloween season.
If the work lasts five weeks as scheduled, it should be finished before the start of the school holiday on Saturday, 28 October. But it will still have an impact on the busy weekends leading up to half term.
Phil said any deliveries will have to be done really early in the morning to avoid pedestrians, with banksmen overseeing vehicles reversing down the street.
Going to hurt
The bollards project has been discussed for years “and could have been done during the Covid lockdown” he said.
Many Goodramgate businesses say their income has been devastated by the bollard installation works now taking place on the street, with hoardings hiding them from the summer visitors.
As a result, the Shambles Area Traders’ Association “is already buzzing with how this is going to hurt us”.
He said it reinforced the belief that City of York Council doesn’t understand business. “It all boils down to the fact that York council very rarely negotiates on anything. They don’t talk to people.”
Phil is also worried that Shambles could lose some of its defining cobbles to make way for the bollards. “If you look at the other streets, the surface has been replaced with modern paving.”
We have asked City of York Council for their response.