CITY centre bosses have defended their decision to remove cycle racks from Parliament Street to make way for the St Nicholas Fair Christmas market.

The racks, which normally provide secure cycle parking for about 50 bikes, were removed yesterday (Tuesday) by the city’s destination management organisation Make it York.

Signs were put on the racks last week, warning cyclists not to leave their bicycles on the racks because they were due to be removed yesterday, but many bikes could still be seen attached to the racks yesterday lunchtime.

The signs infuriated cyclist Keith Hindmarch, of Haxby, who contacted The Press to say he found it a "disgrace" that the racks were being removed.

“I thought the council promoted biking to work and its green credentials,” said Mr Hindmarch, who said he used the rack every day.

“Could it be that they can insert more Christmas huts and rent them out at exorbitant rates? Whatever, it’s a disgrace they do not look after their own council tax paying residents who do bike to work and need a convenient place to put the said bike!”

Paul Whiting, head of marketing and communications at Make It York, said the racks in the centre of Parliament Street were being temporarily removed, as preparations got underway for the installation of the annual St Nicholas Fair Christmas Market.

“We understand that the racks in this location are used and valued by cyclists across the city and we are working in partnership with City of York Council to ensure that an equal number of cycle racks are accessible in nearby, alternative locations within the city centre during this period.”

A spokeswoman for Make It York added that the additional parking for bikes was at three locations in Davygate, two in Church Street, one in Piccadilly, behind All Saints Church and in St Andrewgate, and more would be installed shortly in Lendal.

She gave an assurance that there would be an equal number of racks in the alternative locations to those lost from Parliament Street, and the racks would return after the Christmas market had finished.