Continental style Café culture could come to Ripon

19 September 2011

Ripon’s Kirkgate is undoubtedly the envy of some other cathedral cities in the country and those that live and work in Ripon are rightly proud of that reputation. That is why they are being consulted on some exciting plans for this historic street that could include proposals to allow restaurants and cafes to provide ‘al fresco’ dining.

As the city’s premier shopping, dining and tourism street, leading as it does to the very door of the city’s magnificent cathedral, we need to make sure that everything can be done to protect and improve this great asset for the city.

Many policies are in place to protect it, whether they are nationally or locally set, but as part of plans through the Harrogate district’s ‘My Neighbourhood’ project, a number of organisations have come together to work jointly for the benefit of the Ripon Minster Ward in which Kirkgate is situated.

Councillor Don Mackenzie, chair of the Harrogate District Strategic Partnership Forum, which steers the My Neighbourhood projects, said:

People sitting outside enjoying fine food and drink and taking in what must be one of the best views in the country, will have the added benefit of attracting other people to stroll along the street to browse, shop and enjoy everything else Kirkgate and Duck Hill have to offer.

This is a very common practice in other towns and cities in the country and of course in many of our European counterparts.

Before an approach is made to North Yorkshire County Council (highways) and Harrogate Borough Council (licensing and environmental health) to seek the appropriate permissions, the My Neighbourhood project team needs to know whether there is public support for the proposal.

The idea would be for Kirkgate to be closed to traffic for parts of the day – a suggested period would be between 11.00 am and 11.00 pm which would allow businesses time for their deliveries before the road is closed. It is also envisaged delivery vehicles could park on an allocated area at the city end of Kirkgate throughout the day and wheel their goods along the street if they need to deliver after 11.00 am.

Nothing is definite, but this could be an opportunity for something positive to be done. If there is enough support, ‘al fresco’ dining on Kirkgate could be in place by early spring 2012 for the start of the tourism season.

Residents and business are being invited to send their comments on the proposal by completing a questionnaire available by emailing or by phone 01423 556068. The closing date for comments is 30 October.

There are four ‘My Neighbourhood’ projects currently underway in the Harrogate district which will tackle common issues by a number of partner organisations working together.

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