A GOVERNMENT minister has backed calls for a city-centre bridge to be reopened after a controversial traffic trial ended.

City of York Council’s six-month experiment which has banned private traffic from Lendal Bridge for six-and-a-half hours a day was completed on February 27, but the restrictions will remain while the authority decides whether they should be continued, extended or abandoned.

York’s Liberal Democrat group will formally call for the bridge to be reopened at a council meeting this month, and Justice Minister and Lib Dem MP Simon Hughes – who met local party members during last weekend’s Lib Dem spring conference in York – said the authority should now listen to concerns raised by residents and businesses over the closure.

He said: “I have heard about the problems it has caused and I fully support the local Liberal Democrat call to reopen the bridge.”

Coun Keith Aspden, the group’s leader, said: “It is time for Labour to stop dithering. They said it would be a six-month trial and they should stick to that.”