York Inner Ring Road's most frustrating detour will be eradicated under the £60 million scheme to extend the Coppergate Centre.

The road's junction with Piccadilly is set for a major revamp, including the installation of traffic lights, to cope with extra vehicles using new car parks in Piccadilly.

That means motorists emerging from Piccadilly will be able to turn right towards Skeldergate Bridge, instead of having to turn left and go on a half-mile diversion, via Fawcett Street and Fishergate. And drivers from Fulford Road will be able to turn right into Piccadilly, rather than over Castle Mills Bridge to the roundabout near Skeldergate Bridge and then back-tracking over the bridge again.

The costs of the junction improvements will be met by the developers, Land Securities, and the work will be carried out some time between 1999 and early 2001, subject to the shopping scheme winning planning permission.

It is not yet known how long the work will take, but it is not expected to cause anywhere near as much disruption as the recent construction of the new Layerthorpe Bridge elsewhere on the ring road.

The closure of the Castle car park will reduce the amount of traffic needing to use Tower Street, near Clifford's Tower, said a council spokesman.

Meanwhile, the council taxpayer is also facing long-term benefits from the new shops development.

City of York Council owns a significant part of the retail development site - not least the Castle car park - and rents from the retail units will be shared between the council and developers.

Over the years, if the development becomes a prime retail site with rising rents, the council could enjoy a sizeable and regular influx of funds, which could help keep council tax rises down.

A spokesman stressed that the council's commercial agreement with Land Securities was an entirely different matter to its consideration of the company's planning application.

A report to Policy and Resources Committee next month is expected to outline further details.

Converted for the new archive on 30 June 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.