THE hallowed interior of York's Merchant Adventurer's Hall turned into a hotbed of debate, as children from primary schools across the city thrashed out the biggest issues of the day: would it be a curse or a blessing if York became a World Heritage Site - and was Harry Potter ruining Shambles?

Opinions were very much divided on Harry Potter.

The plethora of wizarding shops in York's most historic street really was ruining it, claimed Jenny Hassel of St Lawrence's Primary.

"Not true! It has saved Shambles!" objected her classmate Sara Dejoree. "There are more visitors, buying more things!"

"But they're all so expensive - and who wants to buy them?" snorted Jenny.

Brogan Beckitt and Maisie Nowak from Poppleton Road primary were equally split on the issue.

They relished the street's 'glorious history' - including the fact that one medieval Earl apparently had his head buried at one end of the street and his body at the other.

Maisie said that, because of Potter, the street was now sometimes so crowded you were in danger of getting crushed.

But Brogan said he'd rather have the Harry Potter shops than not have them. "They're keeping the street alive!"

Opinions were equally divided on the issue of whether being a World Heritage Site would be good for York.

The topic was in the news because it was revealed in April that the city had been included on a 'tentative list' of candidates for World Heritage Status.

Adam Kahil and Fraser Wotherspoon from Lord Deramore's Primary decided there would be both pros and cons.

They trawled through headlines in The Press for examples of what impact World Heritage status might have on the city.

It might mean that proposals first suggested in 2020 to bring the House of Lords to the city might be revived, Fraser groaned. "Oh no, no, no! We don't want them up here!"

Adam agreed it would mean an influx of yet more people to an already crowded city. "There would be more crowds, more tourists - more Airbnbs," he said.

The children were taking part in the annual Primary Schools public speaking competition, organised by York Civic Trust.

Children from eight primary schools across the city took part in this year's event. The hall was packed - with the Lord Mayor of York Cllr Chris Cullwick sitting in the front row.

This being a competition, there naturally had to be winners.

After a lengthy discussion a panel of judges ruled that Adam and Fraser from Lord Deramore's should take the prize.

Afterwards, the pair were bubbling over - and still not convinced that World Heritage status would be good for York.

"It would a pain because loads more people would come and live here and York would just be, like, overloaded," Fraser said.

Adam agreed - to an extent. "It would become too popular, and the city would overflow," he said. "But on the other hand, it would bring us loads more money in, so..."