CALLS for a road closure scheme in York to be reversed have intensified after fears have been raised about emergency vehicles being affected.

City of York Council's Conservative Group Leader councillor Paul Doughty said he asked to see consultation responses from the emergency services after hearing of instances of ambulances being delayed and caught out by road closures in The Groves.

Councillor Doughty said: “Both the Ambulance and Fire services raised serious concerns that could impact their ability to respond to emergency and life threatening situations requiring them to make time consuming detours.

"I was shocked to read comments by our emergency services which appear to have been disregarded and mitigation measures they suggested ignored by the LibDem/Green Council. My fears were heightened when I heard barriers had been replaced with concrete when the fire service had expressly said barriers should be moveable. We already knew many city residents opposed the trial, as did the Conservative group and now know concerns about emergency services access were well placed despite assurances from the champions of these closures.

"I urge the council to suspend the trial and reinstate through access immediately.”

As The Press has previously reported, hundreds of people have already signed an online petition that now has 1,322 signatures calling for the streets through The Groves to be reopened to traffic.

The barriers, put up to try and stop traffic driving down Lowther Street in The Groves, have caused controversy.

Cllr Andy D’Agorne was out last week to supervise the installation of concrete blocks, and was verbally abused by some drivers, as The Press reported at the time.

Cllr D'Agorne said today: "I am very disappointed that the York Conservatives are trying to make emotive political capital out of an initiative which is entirely in line with similar initiatives around the country that the Conservative Transport Minister has urged councils to do. In the case of the Groves there has been significant preparation and planning from before Covid 19. I have personally spoken with an ambulance driver who confirmed that the closed routes across the Groves would not be used at peak times as slower than driving along the centre of the main roads where there is generally space for drivers to pull over and let the crew through.
Every part of the Groves can be reached by emergency services and access plans have been provided to all local crews.
"I have asked officers to maintain regular weekly contact with emergency services to ensure we are able to respond to any remaining concerns they may have. When crews stay on the main roads we are able to monitor their progress and adjust signals if needed to assist their progress."

An email address which will help provide data for a consultation report which will be written at the end of the experimental period has been set up. Residents and road users are invited to email

The Press has contacted both the Fire and Ambulance Service and is awaiting their response.

To sign the petition click here.