THE manager of a charity shop in the heart of York has hit out at the council’s decision to extend the pedestrian zone.

Last week The Press reported that the city centre pedestrian zone is to be closed to vehicles until 8pm - in a bid to give people room for social distancing and provide space for cafes and restaurants to put out tables and chairs.

The ‘foot streets’ area - which has now been extended to include Blake Street, Lendal, St Helen’s Square, Goodramgate, King’s Square, Church Street and Colliergate - is currently closed to traffic between 10.30am and 5pm. The council will now extend these hours to 10.30am to 8pm, seven days a week with barriers in Blake Street and Goodramgate.

Caroline Byers who manages the Mind charity shop in Goodramgate says there was no consultation with shopkeepers and she fears it could mean the charity losing thousands of pounds.

She said: “This will have a massive impact on our charity shop at 25 Goodramgate. With lockdown at the minute people have been clearing out their homes and we have been getting between 120 and 160 bags of donations a day. Some people come on foot, but the majority need cars for drop offs and seeing barriers will put people off. We have had three months of lost revenue due to Covid and now the council go and do this, we are going to lose thousands of pounds and it’s not just us. There’s Sue Ryder, the British Heart Foundation, the RSPCA, and Oxfam, all down here and all reliant on drop offs. As mental health is already struggling with the increase in people suffering over the Covid pandemic we cannot allow it to be further effected.”

The new measures are set to come into force within the next few weeks.

Cllr Andy D’Agorne, the council's executive member for transport, said: “The loading ban is in place to ensure that there is more space available for pedestrians, wheelchair-users, cyclists, and potentially pavement cafes, by removing vehicles as much as possible in this area with narrow pavements.

“Letters were sent to residents and businesses in the affected areas, to make them aware of the proposed changes, before the publication of the Temporary Traffic Regulation Order notice. Due to the nature of the temporary orders and the need to implement these changes urgently, consultation has been limited but an assessment has been undertaken to assess the impacts.”