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Churches’ anger at York city centre parking ban
PARKING has been banned on evenings and weekends in several York city centre streets, sparking claims that churches and the evening economy will be badly affected.
But a senior councillor, Coun Dave Merrett, has defended the move, saying he has taken steps to protect parking for people attending church services after listening to their concerns.
Coun Merrett claimed the removal of traffic would “enhance the city centre experience for residents and visitors alike at all times of the day, something we strongly believe will benefit businesses too”.
Reader Blair Robinson, of Appletree Village, York, contacted The Press to complain at the decision by City of York Council to impose “no waiting at any time” restrictions in Blake Street, Coney Street and Goodramgate.
Mr Robinson claimed the restrictions had been poorly advertised beforehand. He said the limited parking spaces had been well used, mostly by residents, going to city centre churches – mainly St Michael-le-Belfrey, St Wilfrid’s and York Minster.
Mr Robinson said: “The thirteen or so spaces in Goodramgate, together with those in High Petergate, have been used for years by those members who are not so incapacitated as to warrant a Blue Badge, but who find that, with increasing years, a long walk to the church is a struggle.”
He said a recent report by celebrity retail expert Mary Portas had recommended affordable town centre car parking, but the “benighted” council either never read the newspapers, or knew its way was better, and shops were still closing and restaurants shutting their doors.
Coun Merrett, cabinet member for city strategy, said last week’s decision had been advertised well beforehand to fulfil the statutory notice required, and local businesses and other organisations had been made aware through hand-delivered leaflets.
“Local churches in particular had registered speakers at last week’s meeting, so they were clearly aware of this proposal,” he said.
“After hearing their representations, I agreed to amend the terms of the order to allow parking in Duncombe Place up to 11am and after 6pm for morning and evening church services on Sundays. Blake Street and Goodramgate are further away from the churches of St Michael’s and St Wilfrid’s than Bootham Row car park, so there is a very convenient alternative.”
He said the changes reflected the objective of taking traffic out of the city centre as much as possible as part of the Reinvigorate York initiative.
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