York Council 14092023

Support for businesses affected by work to protect city centre

A partnership is supporting businesses affected by work to install permanent safety measures in the city centre.
City of York Council, York BID and the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) have come together to promote those streets affected by the installation of permanent security measures, and to remind everyone that they are open for business.

The York BID has been promoting businesses immediately affected by the works, by giving customers a chance to win a £25 York Gift Card when they make a purchase at one of these businesses for the duration of the work.

Now, along with the FSB, the BID has approached CYC to join this initiative and to continue the promotion in other streets affected by the works. As well as this, enhanced signage highlighting that businesses are open will be installed on the protective fencing around the works.

While doing everything possible to maintain access for everyone in the city centre, short-term diversions for vehicles and pedestrians have created disruption for businesses immediately next to the work. All businesses have had their access kept open.

The Council will continue to communicate regularly with affected businesses until the work is complete. This is being done with hand-delivered letters, visits to business owners, managers and residents and by sharing the contact details of the contractor and council project managers.

Cllr Peter Kilbane, Executive Member for Economy and Transport at City of York Council, said:

“There’s never an ideal time to disrupt businesses in York and we apologise to those affected. Installing the bollards in the city centre is the first and most disruptive phase of work. There are a number of processes and contractors involved in the scheme from installation to connecting the communications, and we expect it to be early next year before the system is fully up and running. Once the project is finished the temporary measures at Christmas will no longer be required.”

Neil Ferris, Director of Place at City of York Council, said:

“To be strong enough to stop vehicles being used as weapons, the construction of these bollards is so significant that it will continue until early in the new year. With such a substantial piece of work, timing it to avoid school holidays, the summer period or other events in the city centre would prolong the overall programme and significantly increase overall costs.

“Building these permanent barriers will protect the city centre and those living in, working in and visiting it for years to come. We understand the immediate impact of this construction on businesses, and we are sorry that it’s caused some challenges.

“We will continue to work with our contractors to minimise the scale of disruption and keep talking to businesses to ensure they are kept informed of the progress of the works.”

Carl Alsop, Operations Manager of York BID, said:

“The works are affecting many local businesses and we are working hard to support them through this difficult time. The BID launched a York Gift Card campaign with businesses on Goodramgate and we will continue to roll out this programme to other streets with the support of the Council. As ever, York city centre continues to be a brilliant place to visit and enjoy, and we encourage everyone to support those businesses that are losing crucial passing trade because of the works. The BID will continue to listen to business views and lobby for improved communications with businesses.”

Carolyn Frank, FSB Development Manager, said:

“Whilst the disruption during these works cannot be avoided, we are pleased to work on behalf of affected businesses to find ways to mitigate the issues they are facing, and hope that the additional messaging and promotional initiative will remind customers to continue to support businesses whilst access is limited.

“We are very grateful to York BID for their support, and to City of York Council for listening to business’s concerns and acting upon them. We hope that the message to support local businesses is taken up by both residents and visitors alike. In York’s long history of trading, these works are a short-term interruption, but for the businesses affected it can feel like forever when they see footfall drop.”

These hostile vehicle measures form part of a raft of measures which include emergency exercises and ongoing training with partners to address the threat of terrorism and to safeguard residents, visitors and businesses.

The next streets to have bollards installed on them will be*:

  • The Shambles from 11 September to 6 October (pedestrian access will be through the walkways from Shambles Market and one from Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate. Vehicle access will be via Kings Square entrance and all access closed at Pavement.)
  • Minster Gates from 25 September to 13 October (pedestrian access will be via Minster Yard and High Petergate)
  • Colliergate from 9 October to 17 November (pedestrian access will be open during the works and diversions for vehicles put in place)
  • Blake Street from 16 October to 24 November (pedestrian access will be open during the works and diversions for vehicles put in place).

*These dates may change depending on a number of factors including what the contractor finds beneath these historic streets. All affected residents and businesses will be contacted and advised of access details before work starts. There will be a break over the busy Christmas period before work at the Parliament Street / Pavement junction begins early in the new year.

After these fixed and sliding bollards have been installed, further, less disruptive work will be needed to commission them. This will generally be done when the streets are closed to traffic and will have limited impact on pedestrian access and little to no impact on adjacent businesses.

To answer businesses’ and residents’ questions, officers and contractors will have a stall at Shambles Market on Wednesday 6 September. Times will be confirmed shortly and all are welcome to drop by.