BAR and cafe owners in York’s Fossgate have welcomed council plans to pedestrianise the street.

City of York Council announced earlier this week that the city centre street was to be closed to traffic during pedestrian hours - which were also to be extended to 8pm - in a bid to give people room for social distancing and provide space for cafes and restaurants to put out tables and chairs.

Confirmation yesterday that the measure would be in force until December, that access would be facilitated into Franklin’s Yard and that applications for pavement cafe licences would be determined within five days were welcomed by Zoe Plummer, joint owner of Ambiente Tapas in Fossgate.

She said the ability to put chairs and tables on the pavements, with cyclists and pedestrians using the carriageway, could make reopening viable for some cafes and bars in small, historic premises which would struggle inside because of social distancing requirements - subject to the weather.

She said businesses were divided on pedestrianisation, and she was pleased access would be maintained into Franklin’s Yard, where there were particular concerns, and she was also pleased the measure would be a temporary one until December, which would allow the impact to be assessed.

John Pybus, landlord of the Blue Bell, who revealed last week that it could not reopen despite the Government allowing it, said yesterday he would now consider his position afresh in light of the pedestrianisation decision and clarification of details.

He said he welcomed the council’s move and looked forward to being able to trade again when it was safe to do so. However, he stressed that there would be practical and logistical problems to overcome before he could set up a pavement cafe area on a relatively narrow pavement, such as difficulties getting drinks to customers.