A £25 gift card scheme aimed at encouraging shoppers to return to York city center, which has been disrupted by the installation of anti-terrorism bollards, is set to be expanded. The installation of the barriers earlier this year has led to a significant decrease in customer numbers, affecting local businesses. The scheme, which offers shoppers the chance to win a £25 York Gift Card when making a purchase at participating shops, was initially implemented on Goodramgate in collaboration with the City of York Council (CYC), York BID, and the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).
Following the success of the initiative, the FSB and the BID have approached the council to extend the promotion to other streets affected by the ongoing works. To further support local businesses, enhanced signage will be installed on the protective fencing surrounding the construction site to reassure customers that shops are open for business.
Councillor Peter Kilbane, the executive member for economy and transport, expressed his apologies for the inconvenience caused to businesses and acknowledged that there is never an ideal time for disruption. He noted that the installation of the bollards is a necessary security measure and the most disruptive phase of the project. It is anticipated that the bollards system will be fully operational by early next year.
Neil Ferris, the director of place at CYC, emphasized the importance of ensuring the bollards are strong enough to prevent vehicles from being used as weapons, which required substantial work. He explained that timing the project to avoid holidays and events would have prolonged the overall timeline and increased costs. While acknowledging the challenges faced by local businesses, Ferris expressed their regrets for any difficulties caused.
The next streets scheduled to have bollards installed are The Shambles, Minster Gates, Colliergate, and Blake Street, with set dates between September and November. The City of York Council encourages residents and visitors to follow their social media accounts for updates on the project.
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