About a dozen people attended an event in York to air concerns about their community with city leaders.

The Westfield Community Conversation at Gateway Centre, Acomb, was part of the council’s bid to hold “community conversations” after a survery revealed only a quarter of the 2,700 people who responded believed they could influence decision-making in York.

At the event, attended by Westfield Ward councillors and Council leader James Alexander, residents claimed the authority showed favouritism towards the council-run Tang Hall Community Centre over volunteer-run Foxwood Community Centre.

They called for more support in attracting businesses into empty shops in Front Street, including reduced business rates, while the residents’ association covering Cornlands Road asked for more say in how money was spent on local projects.

Coun Alexander said: “Events like this are far more useful than reading council reports.”

He denied any favouritism and suggested York community centres met to improve their chances of getting non-council funding.

He also pledged support in helping them become self- sustaining.

Both he and Coun Dafydd Williams, the financial portfolio holder, spoke about the difficulties in changing business rates, and the meeting heard of possible moves to encourage more shoppers to Acomb involving local traders’ and community group Acomb Alive.

Coun Alexander said he was concerned that problems with meals at Gale Farm Court had lasted for a long time and promised to look into it and the Cornlands Road group’s concerns.