Main York road could be closed for three-day festival

Shipton Road, looking towards Water Lane. Photograph © Google Street View

Shipton Road could be shut between the outer ring road and Water Lane for a the new three-day music festival this summer.

And councillors have warned the closure could create traffic problems for the whole city – and leave thousands of residents feeling trapped.

York Festival will take place at York Sports Club on Shipton Road from June 19 to 21 – with headline acts including Lionel Richie, Madness and Westlife.

And the organisers have suggested Shipton Road, the A19, could be shut between the A1237 and Water Lane – with a diversion put in place.

In a report submitted to the council by the company behind the festival – Cuffe and Taylor – they say the reason for the closure would be to keep pedestrians safe, stop ticket holders parking on residential streets and to prevent drivers waiting on nearby streets to collect concert-goers.

Residents get a permit

A map of the planned closure, and the festival site

The report says people living in Clifton Without and Rawcliffe would be given a permit to allow them access into the closed area, adding: “All road closures will be fully manned to allow access.

“Residents will be informed of the permit scheme and issued appropriate permits via a residents letter.”

But councillors have warned that the closures cover a huge area – possibly affecting thousands of residents.

Liberal Democrat councillor for Rawcliffe and Clifton Without Derek Wann said:

  • The full closure of Shipton Road, from the Outer Ring Road to Water Lane, as suggested in the draft traffic plan is a concern.

    This road closure, combined with the draft permit area, could create traffic problems across the whole of York.

    We’re very concerned about the potential impact on the communities of Rawcliffe and Clifton Without, particularly the communities along Shipton Road, which face three days of unrelenting noise and traffic problems.

York Festival was granted a one year licence for the event at a meeting last Thursday – with conditions including a noise limit for nearby properties of 65 decibels rather than 75 decibels and a later start time on June 19, 5pm, to lessen the impact of schoolchildren walking home.

Cllr Wann added: “The plan to create a parking permit area for the majority of the ward will potentially add to the traffic issues that already exist locally.

“We’re worried people, particularly vulnerable residents, will feel trapped within this boundary for the duration of the festival – the organisers cannot be allowed to impose 24 separate checkpoints.”

“With concerns about the congestion outside of the proposed permit area – without significant changes, this plan will lead to an unreasonable three days of disruption for local residents.”

Plan at early stage

Peter Taylor, director of Cuffe and Taylor, said: “We are very disappointed to hear Cllr Wann publicly criticising the traffic management plans, as these have been developed in consultation and with the council’s own officers.

“The traffic management plans are at a very early stage and consultations with residents, council officers and ward councillors will continue before any final plans are approved, as is always the case with any large scale event of this kind.”

He added:

  • We have come to the City of York to host a world-class event. It stands to reason that we want to do it right and work fully with both the local authority and residents so we can come back again year after year.

    York Festival 2020 will see three days of amazing live music brought to this wonderful and historic city.

York Festival has handed out free tickets for the event to people living close to the site and organised a number of public meetings with residents to discuss their concerns.

In response to neighbours’ worries, the organisers have changed the direction of the stage so that it faces away from Shipton Road.

They have also said they will create and submit a full traffic management plan for the event.