Something needs to be done – and soon – to prevent drunken trouble in York city centre getting out of control.
That’s the view of York MP Rachael Maskell.
And the new City of York Council administration has pledged to meet with all the key stakeholders to tackle the issue and “make our historic centre more welcoming”.
They were responding to the experiences of award-winning tour guide Alicia Stabler, who told YorkMix of the verbal abuse and worse she was enduring on Friday and Saturday evenings in York city centre.
Alicia, who as character Mad Alice runs the top-rated Bloody Tour Of York, said her guests were shocked to witness drunken people urinating in the street, getting into punch ups, using foul language and throwing missiles.
She urged the MP, council, police and others to get together to improve things. “I don’t see why York can’t be the forerunner to actually do something about it, and say we’re not going to tolerate this,” Alicia said.
We’ve asked all three for their comments. We’ll be running the police response in a separate article.
Rachael Maskell, the Labour MP for York Central, told us: “I have been warning that unless there is a comprehensive plan for managing the night-time economy, things will get out of control.
“The former council sat on its hands while policing was stripped back. York needs a comprehensive, multi-agency strategy, determining its priorities.
“We have excellent local businesses who are working hard at making York a welcoming, inclusive city.
“We now need to grasp the opportunity that York presents and drive a different culture in our city. I have long called for a ‘family friendly city’ which will not only benefit York economically, but ensure that we restore some balance, so residents and visitors of all ages can enjoy all York has to offer.
“Labour has started by committing to lifting the Blue Badge ban, but there is much we want to do to improve the lives of people across York.”
New Labour council leader Claire Douglas told YorkMix her administration would be taking action.
“This isn’t the sort of experience we want people to have in York and unfortunately is likely to put some visitors and residents off enjoying the city centre,” she said.
“We will be getting together with partners and stakeholders, including businesses, the police and council licensing officers, to work on making the city centre an attractive destination for all.
“We’d welcome Alicia’s involvement in that along with anyone else with an interest in improving the visitor experience of the city centre. We’ll work to make York city centre more family friendly and a place local residents want to visit and feel safe in.
“Unfortunately the city centre has been a low priority for the council administration in recent years and that has been damaging to elements of its economy. We will change that and consider any measures that will make our historic centre more welcoming and attractive to residents and visitors alike”.
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