A TRAVEL agent from York is backing the closure of the city’s Lendal Bridge, claiming it will be appealing for tourists wanting to walk around the city at leisure.

The six-month trial closure will begin in August and City of York Council say it will reduce pollution and make journeys quicker.

Quartz Travel, in Heworth Road, is backing the council initiative.

Paul Smith, director and owner of the company, said: “Our chauffeur-driven transport service is in high demand, with many visitors to York using our luxury saloons and minibuses to enjoy the city.

“One comment we often get is that the pedestrian area in the centre of York makes a visit so easy and pleasurable, but wouldn’t it be great if that area could be extended to other parts.”

The Press previously reported that despite city centre congestion having already fallen, councillors believe that the closure of the bridge, close to York station, will cut this down even further.

However, there has also been widespread criticism of the closure, with many people claiming that it will lengthen their journey to work, ultimately increasing traffic pollution.

Liberal Democrat group leader Keith Aspden said closing the bridge would “significantly” increase traffic elsewhere.

Under the Freedom of Information Act, York’s Lib Dems found that the closure of the bridge would mean more than 300 cars would be using Clifton Bridge every hour.

Mr Smith believes that there is no need for traffic congestion elsewhere though.

He said: “People should use the facilities of public transport or walk to work. It is laziness in my opinion.

“I cycle to work and we have just bought bikes for the rest of our team so they can cut down their mileage.”

Visit York is also backing the initiative. Chief executive Gillian Cruddas said: “One of Visit York’s key aims is to increase visits to York by train for example and to encourage visitors to make more use of the Park & Ride services. Less traffic congestion is appealing to both visitors and residents and makes for a more pleasant experience.”

Mrs Cruddas went on to say she hoped the trial period would help the council find a solution which benefits everyone. The bridge will be closed for cars and motorbikes but will remain open for public transport.