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Footstreets extended to support Castlegate businesses and social distancing

Published Thursday, 30 July 2020

We are creating additional outdoor space on Castlegate, after businesses grouped together to put forward proposals to transform the road into footstreets and use the space for pavement cafes & stalls.

Castlegate will be extended into the city centre pedestrian zone to help support local businesses by providing residents more space to social distance and making access to city centre restaurants, pubs, cafes, shops and businesses easier, as part of the emergency response to COVID-19.

The actions are designed to support the council’s Economic Recovery – Transport and Place Strategy, to build resident, visitor and stakeholder confidence that York is a safe, healthy and attractive place for everyone.

York has one of the largest pedestrian zones in Europe, with many areas within York’s city centre already designated as pedestrian footstreets.

In line with the Government guidance on public spaces and relaxing the restrictions for the hospitality sector this month, the council is extending the footstreet hours, which are expected to be in place from 8 August. This means no vehicles are allowed to access, or park on, these streets, including deliveries between 10.30am 8pm, seven days a week.  During the footstreet times, barriers will be in place in Castlegate to control access, but emergency vehicles will be permitted access at all times.

These are temporary measures as part of the emergency response to the pandemic and will remain under review as national guidance evolves and local needs change.

The council wants to encourage people who have been working from home all day to head in to the city centre to eat, relax and socialise in a family-friendly early evening environment.  Alongside this, the council is encouraging the safe return of residents and visitors by incentivising short stay parking in some of the city’s car parks.

This includes offering 1 hour free parking in August to support local businesses and residents and encouraging people to shop local. More on this can be found here:

In addition to this, Blue Badge holders can, as has always been the case, park for free in any council car park and can take advantage of using disabled bay spaces in council car parks too. For more information on council car parks visit

Blue Badges:

An additional 40 disabled parking bays have been allocated for Blue Badge holders in Monk Bar car park, just off Lord Mayor’s Walk.  Disabled parking is also available in Castle Car Park and also nearby opposite the Hilton Hotel.

A free taxi service is available at Monk Bar car park to take Blue Badge

holders to the back of Barnitts (St Andrewgate) only. The council-funded

service will be operated by Hackney carriages, who will do regular runs to the city centre and you will be able to arrange a return journey.

In what has been a challenging time for residents, businesses and our communities, we are closing parts of the city centre to traffic and vehicles, in order to enable more room for social distancing.

To view the foostreet locations visit

During the footstreet times, barriers (staffed for an initial period) will be

in place in Goodramgate and Blake Street to control access, but emergency vehicles and the Dial and Ride vehicle will be permitted access at all times.

Dial and Ride offers a service for people with difficulty walking or using public transport. Specially adapted buses offer a door-to-door service from your home to the city centre or out of town retail parks and supermarkets.  To contact Dial and Ride, please call 01904 551441.

Shopmobility is a registered charity that provides electric scooters, wheelchairs and manual wheelchairs for hire to enable people to enjoy the shops and attractions in York.  To contact Shopmobility, please call 01904 679 222 or email

We will continue to work with those who have additional access requirements to make sure all residents are still able to access the city centre.

Any residents who are vulnerable or are medically shielding can continue to access support through our community hubs, which continue to:

  • support the most vulnerable residents with delivering foods
  • deploy York's pool of volunteers
  • support people with collecting and delivering their prescriptions
  • support community pharmacies with deliveries, working with Move the Masses

Anyone needing help because they are directly affected by coronavirus and have no other source of help or who are struggling financially, should email  or call 01904 551550. The helpline is open seven days a week.

Cllr Andy D’Agorne, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Transport, said: “Planning for the city’s recovery and to build back a better York remains a key priority. We want to introduce more public spaces and measures to support social distancing and our local businesses. We’ve also produced hospitality packs to support our pubs, restaurants and hospitality sector.

“Introducing this further footstreet extension is an important step to improve access to the city centre in a safe and easy fashion, as well as making the most of the most of the opportunities to support our businesses in these difficult times.

“This action is crucial to help keep residents and visitors safe, in line with latest government guidance.”

Accessing York’s city centre safely:

Guidance for the hospitality sector reopening safely can be found in this toolkit  

Temporary toilets are available on Parliament Street with FREE entry and are open until 10pm at night.

The following public toilets are offering a contactless payment option and will be open until 10pm:

  • St George's Field
  • Coppergate Shopping Centre –
  • Exhibition Square
  • Silver Street

Extending footstreets supports the reopening of the city and the council is continuing to work with stakeholders and partners to improve, evolve and refine these proposals.

Residents can stay up-to-date with the latest proposals and Our Big Conversation by signing up to the weekly resident newsletter:

Tell us what you think

We’re asking residents and businesses to complete our Big Conversation survey, which kick-starts a year-long programme of on and offline opportunities for residents and businesses to shape the city’s recovery.

Over 700 people have already responded and we’d be grateful for your

views too:

These are very challenging times and the council wants to continue

supporting businesses by giving them the space and opportunity to reopen and operate successfully.