THE River Ouse and the River Foss could play a key role in a new cultural strategy for York.

And the city also needs more music venues, according to council officers.

Plans to make the rivers an attraction in their own right were put forward at a City of York Council meeting, with proposals including arts and heritage activities alongside the Ouse and the Foss.

Residents called for the rivers to be made into more of a feature of the city as part of a consultation on York’s cultural future.

Charlie Croft, assistant director communities at City of York Council, said at the meeting: “The question of the rivers came out really strongly in all the consultation, in the sense of needing to open up access to the rivers, having arts and heritage activity alongside the rivers and really making them more of an attraction for both residents and visitors.”

Councillors were discussing a report on the cultural strategy for York for 2019 to 2025.

Other proposals include encouraging “high quality twilight activity” - early evening entertainment. Mr Croft said could address some residents’ concerns about anti-social behaviour and drinking culture in the city.

He added that residents also called for more music venues: “In some of the feedback sessions people felt that particularly music venues were missing. The point has been made in fact that music is a bit thin specifically.”

The consultation also raised concerns over a lack of space for artists and entrepreneurs in the city, with a lack of brownfield sites or warehouses to accommodate creative work.

Mr Croft said finding “flexible, cheap space” must be a priority if the city wants to attract startup companies and designers.

The report also highlighted ambitions for York to reach the top five in the local authority league table for cultural engagement and plans to recruit 10,000 cultural volunteers.

There are also hopes for the city to achieve UNESCO World Heritage status.

The new provisional cultural strategy is due to be presented at a meeting of the executive in January.