Implementing proposals to pedestrianise the city’s Market Square would be ‘fool’s gold’, according to an Independent councillor.
During the recent seven weeks of roadworks on the Market Place, the roads were closed to cars and buses, creating a pedestrian friendly environment.
The temporary pedestrianisation of the Market Place sparked calls from residents enjoying the quieter atmosphere to make the change a permanent one.
However, during a Ripon City Full Council meeting on Monday, November 9, Coun Andrew Williams (Ind) slammed the proposals, claiming it would be a disaster for the city’s businesses.
He said: “The idea has been floated around that it was wonderful without the traffic but if that’s what would permanently happen in the Market Square then no thank-you very much.
“Every single other market town in North Yorkshire is not pedestrianised in the city centre because it kills trade and damages the retain centre. The rest of North Yorkshire isn’t wrong.
“It would be fool’s gold to fulfil a pedestrianisation policy. It makes us look like a ghost town and it’s not a good idea.
“People want to get into the city centre for commerce and want to be able to get in easily. They don’t want it made harder and harder because they will just head out of town.”
In a letter printed in the Gazette on Thursday, November 5, Ripon resident John Rimmer urged the city to follow the example of Leeds and pedestrianise whilst ensuring commercial success.
He said: “Everyone who cares about Ripon should now be pleasing wit out civic society and city councillors to say ‘No, no, no’ to the powers that be ever reopening the newly cobbled Queen Street to through traffic.
“To our shame Ripon is the only city in Yorkshire to have failed to start separating people from traffic in the centre. Shoppers and vehicles simple can’t mix safely.
“It is certainly possible and Ripon would be then transformed into a pedestrian’s paradise that will bring in many more shoppers and tourists and be the great little city that we can all be even more proud of.”
Mr Rimmer has called on the council to ‘let Ripon prosper’ but other residents are split on the potential benefits and disadvantages of pedestrianising the Market Square.
Ripon resident Dianne Quinn said: “I like the idea of a pedestrianised Market area but maybe a part-pedestrian market place could work.”
However, Simon Grainger said: “I think it would be a disaster because in today’s busy life style people don’t really have time to park away from the centre and walk.”