One solution to the anti-social behaviour in York would be to send drunk people straight back home on trains, says the council leader.

Ian Gillies is keen to tackle drunkenness in the city centre as he looks ahead to 2019.


Other prioirities include housing, traffic and social care which he said the council is working to tackle.

But there is also much to celebrate in the city, not least the ‘fantastic’ progress on projects including York Central and the Community Stadium.

High street problems

Cllr Gillies suggested that the council work with the police to put drunk visitors back on trains home.

And he added that there are concerns over the future of the high street, saying:

  • We don’t want people coming to York who are already the worse for drink.

    We could work with the train operators and British Transport Police to curtail this. York is attractive because it’s a relatively small city centre with a lot of licensed establishments.

    I think a lot of the challenges are the problems with the high street, yet the other part of York is incredibly busy.

    Some people think we are not doing enough, other people think we are making it too busy.

Financial hardship

An estate agent’s window in York. Photograph: Richard McDougall
He said more must also be done for residents in financial hardship: “There are parts of the city that are less well-off and need help.

City of York Council leader Ian Gillies
“They are important and this has to be one of our priorities. We need to acknowledge that it’s not good enough.

“We have a challenge with housing and house prices because of the popularity of the city. We have an ambitious programme of social and affordable housing.”

He said: “I have always been ambitious, we need to look to the future and what it holds for the people of York who will be following us.

“There are challenges. We have to look at what more we can do.”

Football revival

Fantastic progress on York Stadium. Photograph: York Stadium Leisure Complex on Twitter
But he said there is much to celebrate, with the Shakespeare Rose Theatre being a highlight. Cllr Gillies said:

  • We took a leap of faith. When we were given the vision of a theatre being built on our major car park I had to blink twice, but the outcome was incredibly successful and they are coming back next year.

    We have also got to acknowledge the continual success of York Racecourse – it’s exceptional. It has an international reputation.

    And we celebrated the performance of York City Knights and look forward to a successful campaign in 2019, particularly when they get to the new stadium.

    Hopefully the football club will have a revival to be where they should be.

And he warned against complacency: “York has had many awards and we take pride in that, but we can’t afford to sit back. We have to provide for our residents and our visitors.”