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Drunken hen party hell for Micklegate traders
ROWDY hen and stag parties are making Micklegate in York a “no-go” zone during the daytime on Saturdays, traders have claimed.
Jon Archibald, owner of the York Body Piercing Clinic, in Micklegate, said the situation had got increasingly bad over the summer and another trader has stopped part of her business to discourage the partygoers from her shop.
Mr Archibald said drunk revellers come into his shop asking for piercings and tattoos. But it is illegal to work on drunk people, and he said they often resisted when asked to leave, threatening staff and once even trying to drag a trainee employee across the counter.
He said: “Micklegate on a Saturday morning is great, but by 10am to 11am when they start, it becomes a no-go area. By 2pm no one wants to walk up here.”
He said customers had been known to change bookings from Saturdays after seeing the activity in the area and on racedays, shops have been advised by police to close early.
“We moved into this shop in 2000 and we have slowly watched in the past two years as the hen and stag dos have got a lot worse. Most of it was well-meaning and we didn’t used to worry about it too much. But now they won’t take no for an answer.”
He said earlier in the summer two hen parties left blood all over the front of the window after fighting. “The girls are worse,” he said. “It’s the girls that were battering each other’s heads off the kerb stones.”
He said there was always a member of staff ready to lock the door and sometimes they pretend to be shut when the noise outside increased.
He said people sometimes walked down the street naked or wearing only chains, and they once counted 50 different hen and stag parties during one day between noon and 5pm.
Jayne Mason, owner of ballet and dancewear shop the Fancy Dance shop, has stopped selling fancy dress outfits and has moved to a smaller shop on the other side of the road to escape the parties.
Jayne said a female employee on her own was once picked up and carried around the shop before the stag party stole a mannequin. The dancewear side of the business also meant young girls would be in the shop trying on leotards.
She said: “I hated the thought of losing my proper customers because they didn’t like coming in on a Saturday.”
She took a risk, losing a revenue stream, but now she pays lower rent and is in a more visible location.
She said: “It’s not nice for a Saturday afternoon in beautiful York.
“It’s the proper tourists we want who are interested in York as a city, not just a party weekend.”
Fashion boutique Amanda’s Of York said they too had seen an increase in antisocial behaviour and binge drinking this summer.
But Jack Baber, owner of Bill Baber Knitwear and one of the organisers of the Micklegate Quarter, said his business wasn’t affected by drunks.
He said noise levels increased on Friday and Saturday afternoons but it was “usually pretty good-natured.”
“We don’t see any of the negative sides and see it as quite a positive thing when it’s busy and bustling. Come the morning, all the litter has gone.”
He said the street’s reputation for the Micklegate pub crawl was in the past, and tourists would not be put off because they would not have those preconceptions.
He said the Micklegate Quarter held meetings to raise specific issues with the police, but at present it was mainly the pubs that were involved with these, because they were more relevant to the night-time economy.