A LETTER has been sent to Make it York calling for an urgent rethink over a decision not to allow traders access to Shambles Market with their vehicles until 8pm three days a week.

Councillor Fiona Fitzpatrick, Rachael Maskell, Labour’s candidate for York Central in the coming general election and the Shambles Market traders have sent a joint letter to Make It York and City of York Council, criticising the ruling over access on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays in the lead up to Christmas.

The letter states that the new times will see some traders working 15-hour days, and market traders with children facing a loss of income unless they can find additional evening childcare every weekend until Christmas.

It adds: “It is understood that York council transport professionals and North Yorkshire Police Counter Terrorism Team had suggested a controlled access system that would allow market traders to access the market earlier while still protecting public safety. However, this suggestion has so far been rejected by Make It York.”

Make it York said that its decision was taken on advice from experts.

But the letter calls for the proposals to be revisited in a bid to agree a new way forward that balances public safety with the wellbeing and livelihoods of the Shambles Market traders.

Cllr Fitzpatrick, of Guildhall ward, said: “I’ve been disappointed in the lack of flexibility from Make it York, who have so far railroaded this decision through without any concern for the permanent traders.

“These current plans look set to pit the interests of out of town businesses coming into York for the seasonal Parliament Street market, against those who occupy Shambles market all year round. People are concerned that valued, local stallholders who work in York week in and week out, are having their lives made so difficult."

Kevin Tuohy, chair of Shambles Market Business Group, said: “We are trying our best to make a living and to support the local economy. Our existence in York is owed to the wonderful arena that is the Shambles Market. We value working there and enjoy contributing to the surrounding businesses of York 52 weeks a year.

"To be treated as 'second class citizens' really saddens us and this realisation makes us think that Make It York do not value our contribution to the city at all. We want this to change and to work on a level playing field with Make It York."

Sean Bullick, managing director of Make It York, said: “Whilst we appreciate the impact this may have on the day to day operations of the Shambles Market stallholders, the decision has been made following advice from our retained experts that this is a necessary step to ensure the safety of those in the city centre during the busy market period.

"Make It York has considered the proposed alternative arrangements, however, having done so, the advice on public safety remains the same. Our paramount responsibility and concern are to ensure that everyone who works and lives in the city and those who are attending the Christmas markets can do so in a safe environment - and the measures being rolled out this year are in response to this.”