A second route into York city centre is to open for blue badge holders following the competition of anti-terrorism bollards, the council announced.

From tomorrow (Friday, March 1) holders of valid blue badges and their drivers can drive into the city centre at any time via Blake Street.

It comes after the street reopened with new sliding bollards in place outside the Clarksons menswear store.

City of York Council previously said blue badge holders would be able to drive into the centre via Blake Street from Easter.

But the authority revealed the work was finished early. 

The moveable barriers at Blake Street will be closed and staffed daily between 10.30am and 5pm, as they are currently in Goodramgate, a council spokesperson said.

York Press: Blake Street open with the anti-terrorism bollards in placeBlake Street open with the anti-terrorism bollards in place (Image: Dylan Connell)

Access will be granted by valid blue badges being presented by the driver or passenger and checked, they added.

Outside those hours, when the city centre is quieter, the barriers will be open to all.

The council’s Labour executive decided to reverse the so-called ‘blue badge ban’ last October.

It was first introduced by the previous Liberal Democrat/Green authority in June 2020 in response to the Covid pandemic and made permanent in September 2021. 

Routes into the city centre for blue badge holders

Now, blue badge holders can drive slowly into the city centre at any time from Blake Street or Goodramgate.

Once parked, they must display their clock card alongside their Blue Badge.

“From the barriers at Blake Street, the blue badge holder or their driver can drive slowly one-way along Blake Street, turn right through St Helen’s Square, and turn right again to exit via Lendal and the CCTV-controlled bollards,” a council spokesperson said.

“Blue badge holders can park on the double yellow lines on these routes without causing an obstruction, for up to three hours.

“Blue badge holders can also be dropped off. If they’re being picked up later, they must leave their name with the barrier staff so their driver can get back in to collect them.”

Blue badge ban did 'immense harm to disabled people' - council boss

Cllr Katie Lomas, City of York Council’s executive member for finance, performance, major projects and equalities, said she was “delighted” that access to the city centre was restored ahead of schedule.

“It’s important that our city centre is open to everyone,” she said.

Cllr Peter Kilbane, the council’s executive member for transport and economy, said: “Five years without full access to the city centre has done immense harm to disabled people.

"I’m proud to have been part of the team which has restored that access to Blue Badge holders and ‘reversed the ban’ early."

Cllr Kilbane added Blake Street reopening early would have benefits for businesses in Blake Street, who previously told The Press the work was disrupting their trade.

“I want to apologise for the inconvenience they (business) experienced, and invite them and other businesses to a workshop in March where we can work with them to support their access needs,” he said.

But Cllr Nigel Ayre, leader of the York Liberal Democrat group, said it was "disappointing" that Labour was reopening foot streets in the city centre to blue badge holders but "refusing" to accept a Liberal Democrat budget amendment that would have progressed a city centre shuttle bus.

He said the service was needed after the York Wheels announced its 'dial and ride' type service would come to an end last year.

"Many elderly and disabled people do not have access to a car and now under Labour they have little hope of the public transport they need to be able to access the centre of the city," Cllr Ayre said. 

"We will be watching with interest how these arrangements operate and what the response of the counter terrorism police will be.”

The council is holding several workshops on improving access to York city centre.

For disabled residents they take place on:

  • Thursday, March 14, 10am to 12pm at The Citadel, Gillygate YO13 7EA
  • Friday, March 15, 2pm to 4pm at Tang Hall Community Centre, Fifth Avenue, YO31 0UG
  • Saturday, March 16, 10am to 12pm
  • Sunday, March 17, 11am to 1pm at Acomb Parish Hall, 18a Front Street, YO24 3BZ.

For businesses on:

  • Thursday, March 14, 6pm to 8pm at the Chase Room, Delta Hotels by Marriott York, Tadcaster Road YO24 1QQ.

For members of any York community groups:

  • Saturday, March 16, 2pm to 4pm at The Friends’ Meeting House, Friargate YO1 9RL
  • Monday, March 18, 10am to 12noon at The Citadel, Gillygate YO13 7EA.

To book a place on a session visit: www.surveymonkey.com/r/S7LYJPX.