FAMILY-friendly evening entertainment could come to the city centre this summer in a pilot scheme based at the Coppergate Centre.
Councillors are looking at the centre in their efforts to liven up the early evening economy in York city centre, and extend the “tourist day”.
The project began in June and last week the council’s scrutiny and management committee reviewed a draft report on the night-time economy ready to present the plans to the council’s cabinet for final approval next month.
The committee chairman Cllr John Galvin said: “This is an attempt to bring some improvements to the night time – or early evening – economy from 5pm to 8.30pm.
“We want to see a pilot scheme, based in and around the Coppergate centre, and something family orientated.”
The plans would bring entertainment, as well as shopping, into the city in what has traditionally been a teatime lull between shops closing around 5pm and pubs and bars becoming busy later in the night, he added.
“We feel the Coppergate Centre has a lot to offer families, and we didn’t want to base something entirely on shopping.
It is self-contained, and has a perfect space for entertainment.”
If the plans get the go-ahead from council cabinet, a pilot scheme could be run one night a week with late-opening shops and cafes, street entertainers, buskers and food markets, and could be up and running by the school summer holidays.
“We hope the pilot scheme will grow organically and next year could spread into Parliament Street,” Cllr Galvin added.
Besides the Coppergate pilot, the city could see the reintroduction of “dry discos” for teenagers, open spaces being used for concerts and cultural events, and public buildings being opened up for entertainers and performers to put on events in the early evenings.
Cities such as Prague – where the National Gallery stays open in the evenings for concerts – have been held up as examples for York to follow.
The council is also considering new poster boards to display information about evening events, and could commission a specialist listings publication to give details of upcoming events.