exhibition-square-drinking
Exhibition Square will be affected by the proposals. Photograph © Allan Harris on Flickr

York’s famous footstreets could be an al fresco party venue after the council put forward plans to license them for drinking and dancing till 11pm at night.

But don’t expect every night to be a street festival. The change in the rules will only come in to play for specific outdoor events.

City of York Council is applying to vary the licence to extend the hours when various leisure activities are permitted on the footstreets – including Exhibition Square.

Proposed new licensing hours are in the table below: the current licence ends footstreet fun at 9pm.

ActivityMon-Sat hoursSunday hours
Plays9am-11pm9am-11pm
Films9am-11pmNoon-11pm
Music (live & recorded)9am-11pmNoon-11pm
Dance9am-11pmNoon-11pm
Supply of alcohol9am-11pm9am-11pm

Footstreet fringe festival

A council spokesperson said the change is being sought as part of preparations for ten-day entertainment festival The Great Yorkshire Fringe.

That is set to bring big name stand-up comedians and theatre productions to a number of temporary venues on Parliament Street in the summer.

These are set to end at about 10pm-10.30pm. There would also be a licensed area to serve drinks.

Organisers plan to stage the festival here for at least the next three years.

To enable this to happen, the council is proposing to change the footstreet licensing regulations. There is now a consultation period until March 18 and any representations will be heard within the following three or four weeks.

If councillors then approve the move, the extended hours should come in to play from mid-April.

The spokesperson then said other event organisers could take advantage:

Once in place, and similar to the current licence, companies or organisations can approach City of York Council about holding events, including those involving dance, music, and/or alcohol.

Anyone wishing to make representations to the council about the changes can email Licensing.unit@york.gov.uk or phone 01904 552512.