CHEAPER parking and more buses would be needed if York cafés were to persuaded to open in the evenings, owners have said, writes Lewis Pennock.

A survey conducted as part of work to boost York’s evening economy found many people wanted cafés to stay open in the evenings alongside pubs, restaurants and bars.

Local café owners have cautiously welcomed the idea, but say City of York Council would need to play its part in making the move a success.

Jeff Thompson, manager of Coffee Culture in Goodramgate, said: “Business drops at about 4.30pm because most of the people visiting York are day-trippers.

“We would consider extending our hours if the council did things to encourage it, but we do well in the time we are open. Later opening times would also mean arranging shifts – we are open from 7.30am and it would be difficult to open for those sort of hours.”

Michelle Procter, manager of York Cocoa House, in Blake Street, said: “We’ve started an evening programme, opening later on Thursday to try to get more people to come in and take part in some events with the café still being open as usual. We also have a cake club which runs on the first Wednesday of every month with different themes.

“We have considered extending hours through the week and it’s something we’ll consider again when the clocks go back. Free parking would encourage us, but it depends whether those people are going on a night out and want to have a drink. It would be an incentive for people who aren’t drinking, but I think there would need to be events as well.”

Steve Dyson, manager of Spring Espresso in Fossgate, said: “We’re planning on extending our opening hours shortly and opening until at least 7pm, but we wouldn’t really consider much later than that because it mixes into the opening hours of the bars.

"There’s a time for coffee, which maybe isn’t later at night. For us in Fossgate, free parking would be an encouragement because a lot of people park in this area. People could park near the shop to do their shopping and grab a coffee when they return.”

Mark Shenton, owner of La Cremeria in High Petergate, said: “I’d like to open later, but my opening hours are actually restricted because of the nearby church and the upstairs of the property, which also serves as a residence.

“Car parking is terribly priced and even coach drivers are complaining – some of them have to pay for parking and claim it back, and because it can take them two months to do this they are really put off by the prices. Cheaper buses world work, but if you look at the current Park&Ride service, people are complaining because of the queues. There need to be more buses.”