A campaign to banish cars from a popular city centre food and shopping street has attracted more than 1,600 supporters.

The ‘Free Fossgate’ campaign was launched in August by pub, café and shop owners businesses in August, who believe the move will bring cleaner air and boost businesses by allowing outside tables and chairs.

Yesterday, campaigners handed over a petition to two ward councillors, Tony Clarke and Rachel Melly.

‘Free Fossgate’ also unveiled what could be the longest-ever campaign poster ever created- made by Tony Brennan, who runs Diana’s Nitrogen Ice Cream Café with wife Diane.

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John Pybus, landlord of the Blue Bell Inn is spearheading the campaign, which he says could lead to the return of the popular Fossgate Festival, which saw street food and live entertainment.

He told the Press: “We have over 1,600 signatures on the petition. We urge everyone who thinks it is a good idea to pedestrianise Fossgate to sign it.

“Now, our local councillors will present the petition at the next full council for their consideration in a few weeks and we will be there to speak on the issue.

“We dearly hope City of York Council will enact a full consultation and we can later move forward with the pedestrianisation of the street.”

York Press: The campaigners with a very long poster

But where would the traffic go and how would the businesses received their deliveries?

John explained: “Piccadilly runs parallel to Fossgate. We do understand that with deliveries and residents’ vehicles this is a complex issue. This is why we need to launch a full consultation.

“We are all hospitality businesses, we need deliveries. However, there are hospitality businesses on Coney Street and Parliament Street and many other streets around the city (which are pedestrianised) so we don’t know why we can’t overcome these complex issues like these streets have.”

“We hope that the pedestrianisation of Fossgate means that we can address disabled access, café culture and cleaner air. These three things don’t have to be exclusive of one another.”

Earlier John commented this has been a lifelong campaign, starting in 1985 when he was born, and he will never give up campaigning on the issue.

“I will continue to my dying day,” he said.

York Press: The campaigners with a very long poster

Cllr Tony Clarke told the Press that it could be a year or more before anything concrete materialises, if it was approved.

“We are really happy to support the local businesses and residents who want to make Fossgate the best place it can be. We will be urging the council to look into the best traffic options. We need to fully consult with businesses and residents o find traffic arrangements that suit everyone.”

The petition can be found at the Blue Bell Inn and other businesses in Fossgate.