Is McArthur Glen Designer Outlet traffic strangling York?

McArthur Glen Designer Outlet's Winter Wonderland event
McArthur Glen Designer Outlet's Winter Wonderland event
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The start of the Christmas season at McArthur Glen Designer Outlet in York saw traffic chaos that many residents predicted.

Cars were abandoned on verges and roundabouts and shoppers reported fights over parking spaces as visitors descended on the outlet village for both the Black Friday sales and the Winter Wonderland - a perfect storm of events.

As the site is also one of York's park and ride termini, buses carrying visitors to the St Nicholas Fair into the city centre also faced delays.

Car park chaos on Black Friday sales weekend at York Designer Outlet
Residents of Fulford, the suburb closest to the mall, hit out on Facebook to complain about increasing traffic congestion between the city and the A64/A19 junctions caused by the designer outlet's location.

Jeanette McGrath commented:-

"Try living in Fulford, I assure you it is a total nightmare, we locals can't get out of the city in any direction as the chaos that is the designer outlet centre backs up for miles, great for the air quality here. It was ill thought-out from the beginning as a location, especially since it is also home to the park and ride, Worse, in the near future they are hoping to expand it so if you think it is bad now just wait.

"If I need to get to an event that requires me to drive on any weekend, no matter what time of the year, I set off an hour earlier than should be required; a 20-minute journey frequently takes well over an hour just to get to the roundabout from Fulford. This is not about lack of spaces so much as the access to the site. I ask you, who in their right minds locates access to the site and a park and ride slap bang in the middle of a roundabout that joins a major junction to the A19 and A64, when a further 640+ houses are being built within half a mile?"

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Nicky Sherrard added:-

"Every year is the same, progressively getting worse up until the end of January - it’s nothing new. Also every bus you get on is absolutely packed with people going into York for the Christmas markets - it’s not just the outlet."

Congestion problems could worsen in future, as the outlet's owners McArthur Glen have applied for planning permission to expand the centre.

Their plans include 630 additional parking spaces, an improved park and ride terminus and 25 extra shops - which they say would reduce traffic problems despite attracting more visitors.

They want to move the park and ride to a new area of the complex to change the circulation of the buses.

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A spokesman for McArthur Glen, which runs six outlet villages across the UK and is shortly to open a seventh in the West Midlands, said:-

"A planning application has been submitted to the City of York Council for additional car parking which will aim to ease congestion that occurs during peak periods. We are working alongside the council to provide a long-term benefit for the local community and to enhance the visitor experience”