A DISPUTE between Shambles Market traders and Make it York over Christmas opening hours has finally been resolved - with stall holders now allowed to load their vehicles from 6pm or later, depending on visitor levels.

At a meeting on Wednesday, a decision was made to implement staggered leaving times for the market traders, and a safety officer will decide what time is best to allow them to start loading their vehicles - conditional on footfall levels.

The dispute began after Make it York said traders would not be allowed to bring their vehicles onto the site to clear stalls - and leave for home - until 8pm on Thursdays, Fridays or Saturdays in the run-up to Christmas.

A risk assessment by ACT National said the current control measures for the traders “go beyond what is considered reasonably practicable” and that the decision should be based on daily footfall within the market area.

The report did also praise Make it York for the current safety controls.

But now the agreement states that a decision on closing time will be made by the safety officer each day by 5.30pm and distributed to market traders for them to "start organising batch arrival of vehicles".

A public address system will be used to advise the public that vehicles will be entering the area of the Shambles Market, and vehicles will enter and exit in pre-arranged batches through the barrier using a pass system, assisted by Make It York.

A spokesman for Make It York said: “We are pleased that the report concluded that, provided the right additional safeguards are in place, it may be possible to authorise the safety officer to allow earlier access onto the Shambles Market on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.

"We hope this will alleviate some concerns raised by traders.”

Kevin Tuohy, chair of the Shambles Market Traders, added: “We are thankful that we can now function with the expected set hours we are used to and have planned our lives around. The dictated and elongated hours were unworkable and caused nothing but stress.

"We are glad for all the assistance with our cause.”