Victory for Shambles Market traders, as Make It York allows earlier finish

Shambles Market. Photographs: Richard McDougall
5 Dec 2019 @ 1.25 pm
| News

Market traders should be able to finish earlier at weekends, after Make It York climbed down over its transport restrictions.

Stallholders on Shambles Market had told of ‘unworkable’ hours caused by regulations introduced this year which prevented vehicle access to the market until 8pm on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays until Christmas.

Make It York had said the restrictions were necessary for the safety of shoppers using the pedestrianised streets.

Some traders have boycotted the market on those days, while others have said it has forced them into working 16-hour days, putting their health at risk.


More than 1,500 people signed a petition calling for a rethink.

Make It York today (Thursday 5 December) published an independently conducted health and safety review of the vehicle restrictions.

It follows a meeting with traders on Wednesday. In a statement released today, the company said:

  • Make It York are pleased that the report concluded that, provided the right additional safeguards are in place, it may be possible to authorise the onsite safety officer to make a decision to allow earlier access onto the Shambles Market on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.

Safety report

Traders’ vehicles will be allowed in in batches
In his Shambles Market risk assessment report public safety expert Phil Atkinson said “the probability of injury (even at 20:00 hrs ) to a pedestrian is relatively high and the likely outcome of such an injury could be serious”.

But he added:

  • Given this high residual risk it would be easy to conclude that the current control measures are appropriate.

    However as with the management of many complex risks, a balance sometimes has to be struck. Given the effect on the Market Traders it could be argued that the current control measures go beyond what is considered to be reasonably practicable.

    There is the possibility of some compromise, which through the introduction of some compensatory measures could reduce the residual risk and enable the traders to leave the Shambles Market earlier.

The new process

Rachael Maskell and Cllr Fiona Fitzpatrick (both with clipboards) join traders on Shambles Market in November. Photograph: Richard McDougall
With additional safeguards in place Make It York says the on-site safety officer can be authorised to allow market vehicles through at earlier times.

The default time will be 6pm – “however precise times will however depend on circumstances and the safety officer’s judgment”. This is the new process:

  • the safety officer will decide on the closing time by 5.30pm and inform traders
  • traders will organise batch arrival of vehicles
  • the public will be warned over a public address system that vehicles will be entering the area of Shambles Market
  • vehicles will enter and exit in pre-arranged batches through the barrier using a pass system, assisted by Make It York
  • they will be assisted by their own bankspersons (someone outside the vehicle assisting the driver)
  • Make It York staff will help direct the public around the market loading areas to ensure the safety of all.


Make It York said: “As ever, the paramount responsibility and concern of Make It York is to ensure that everyone who works and lives in the city and those who are shopping in the city centre can do so in a safe environment – and the decisions taken throughout have been in direct response to the advice that we have received from independent safety experts.”

Kevin Tuohy, chair of Shambles Market Business Group, welcomed the news.

He told YorkMix:

  • We are pleased that Make It York have realised that the enforced 8pm finish was unjust and unworkable for the vast majority.

    We hope that the new working arrangements that mean a 6pm finish unless unsafe to do so will alleviate some of the distress caused.

    We the traders wish to thank all parties involved in last night’s meeting for their help in finding a workable solution.