THOUSANDS of people partied in a York street as a midsummer community celebration saw it become a car-free zone.

Residents and traders in the Bishopthorpe Road area of the city joined forces to make the stretch of the route between Nunnery Lane and Scarcroft Road a pedestrians-only scene of fun last night.

The first-ever Bishy Road Street Party saw music playing, outdoor dining laid on and many shops opening late in conjunction with the Towards Carfree Cities conference, which is being held in York this week.

About 2,000 people packed the street for the event and Richard Lane, one of the conference organisers, said: “By removing cars, we reclaimed space for the community, if only for a short while.

“The turnout was amazing and we thank local councillors for their support and particularly the Bishopthorpe Road traders, who have pulled out all the stops.

“It’s gone so well, with such a great atmosphere, that this can’t just be a one-off event.”

The party, which saw traffic diverted along other nearby routes, included stalls from community groups, a barbecue organised by M&K Butchers, handmade ice cream from The Good Food Shop, a morris-dancing troupe and a string of bands.

“Bishopthorpe Road is a great example of a neighbourhood shopping street, which is fast becoming a rare thing,” said Andy Shrimpton, manager of the Cycle Heaven bike shop and one of the traders behind the event.

“There is a great sense of community and the traders are at the heart of that. This event is all about giving that community a space free of traffic for one evening only, but we hope this party will be the first of many.”