A PROMINENT York Labour councillor has joined the growing number of people calling for Make it York and York council to resolve issues with market traders over opening hours.

The Press reported earlier this month that traders say they may have to shut their York stalls after being told they won’t be able to access Shambles Market with their vehicles until 8pm three days a week.

Cllr Danny Myers, Leader of York Labour Group, said that the revised times, that came into force on November 14, mean that some traders are being forced to work 15 hour days leaving them, some of whom have children to support, facing a loss of earnings due to difficulties securing childcare.

He said: “It is outrageous that some of York’s smallest and hardest-working businesses are being so badly treated, and the council are just sitting back and letting it happen. Market traders are very angry about the situation, particularly now that they are hearing local shop owners are being allowed earlier access, leaving them feeling victimised and discriminated against.

“The council are acting like powerless bystanders when in fact as 100 per cent shareholder, with two Make it York board members, they are extremely well placed to step in and do something.

“Weeks fter the initial announcement about these hours, Make it York have done nothing.

“Local people are very unhappy that these traders who work day-in and day-out in our city are being treated so badly, and after all the letters, meetings and petitions, there is just a space where the council should be.

“These small businesses are essential to our local economy and yet rather than helping them, Make It York and the council seem determined to make their lives as difficult as possible, putting traders health and livelihoods at risk during the coldest and busiest time of year.

“It’s shameful that they are just standing by and failing to protect their right to trade fairly and humanely. How we treat our smallest traders says a lot about who we are as a city.”

In a joint statement, Make it York and City of York Council said: “We understand the concerns that have been raised in relation to the access times during the period of the Christmas market and this is not a decision we have taken lightly.

“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.

“We have considered the proposed alternative arrangements, but, having done so, the advice on public safety remains the same. Our paramount responsibility and concern is to ensure that everyone who works and lives in the city and those who are attending the Christmas markets can safely.”