A POP-UP tipi-style tent has been set up in the shadow of York Minster to provide local hospitality businesses with access to more outdoor space.

College Green has been transformed as part of the city’s efforts to help businesses recover in the wake of lockdown, with the tent providing tables and chairs both inside and out, along with temporary toilets.

The York BID have been working with businesses to understand their needs, including how to make best use of the available public outdoor space, as part of City of York Council’s city-wide recovery planning group.

College Green was identified as an open space with potential to support the hospitality businesses of Goodramgate, many of which are in historic buildings with limited outside space.

The land is owned by York Minster, which was keen to support the BID and explore how the space could be used to support the immediate business community.

The tent is light and airy, making the most of the popular location. Tables and chairs will be regularly sanitised, and the area will be managed at all times, with priority given to those who have purchased food and drink at nearby businesses.

Waste management, cleaning, security and staffing will be managed by the BID and local company PapaKata which has provided the tent.

Andrew Lowson, executive director at the BID, said: “A lot of hospitality businesses have lost capacity due to social distancing guidance.

"The College Green Pop-up will enable surrounding businesses to essentially expand their covers, whilst locals and visitors can enjoy food and drink in what is an attractive outside space.

"Most importantly, it will allow businesses to generate additional income.”

There are many food and drink businesses in the area who will benefit from the College Green Pop-up who do not have the option to use their immediate frontage for seating.

Social distancing means that many are not able to operate at their usual capacity, and the initiative has received an overwhelmingly positive response.

Wes Taylor who runs Fancy Hanks, Goodramgate, said: “I think the shared hospitality tent on College Green is an excellent idea.

"All hospitality businesses are currently running at a lower capacity than usual due to social distancing guidance. It is a great way to give us all a little extra space to make up the loss in business we are currently experiencing.

"It is also another outdoor space for the people of York and visitors to enjoy themselves in a spacious and safe environment.”

The Right Revd Dr Jonathan Frost, Dean of York, said: “York Minster is proud to be the test site for this innovative project. We strongly support the city’s tourism recovery strategy.

"There is a real sense of purpose and a collaborative effort focused entirely on bringing life back to the city centre and doing all we can to help local businesses recover and thrive.”

Cllr Andrew Waller, executive member for economy and strategic planning, said: “We’re really pleased to support this ‘new’ outdoor family-friendly space, which is all part of our ongoing city wide recovery plan, to look at how we can increase public spaces including creating more flexible areas for leisure, culture and local businesses.

“Alongside free parking for the first two hours, and extra measures for blue badge holders, we’re giving all those people who are working from home throughout the day a chance to get out and enjoy the city centre safely after work.

“We’re continuing to monitor the impact of all the changes and I would encourage every York resident to give us their feedback through www.york.gov.uk/OurBigConversation.”

The project is co-funded between the BID and York council. The College Green Pop-up will open to the public on Saturday, July 25.

It will be open 11am-9pm every day until 20th September.

In recent weeks, the BID have installed hand sanitiser units across the city and launched the City Host programme. They have also facilitated conversations between traders and the council about how to best to develop shared use of the available outdoor space in other locations.