York stag and hen parties are devastating the city, MP says
Hen and Stag parties are causing “devastation” to York which must change to become more family-friendly, a local MP has said.
Rachael Maskell, Labour MP for York Central, made the plea after receiving complaints from residents who said converted homes were being rented out to noisy guests.
She added the problem was so bad some locals were staying away from the city centre on the weekends to avoid rowdy groups, the BBC reported.
Maskell tweeted: “As we enter this new Parliament, I am bringing a focus on the devastation that Hen and Stag parties is bringing to #York and why we must pivot to become a leading family friendly city for the sake of residents and our economy. York is better than this.”
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Maskell has asked for stricter rules on holiday lets because she fears first-time buyers will have fewer homes to choose from.
She is due to meet the housing minister to discuss the issue.
Maskell added: "Party groups are coming to the city and we're seeing a big rise in Airbnbs where people are staying, so it's now not just contained in the city centre, it's growing out to the communities where people live.
"People are buying up housing stock, cash in hand, so the chance for first-time buyers trying to get their house is disappearing and it's pushing up the market price."
Maskell added stag and hen groups mainly spent their cash in chain establishments rather than in local shops, which reduced the benefits to the area.
A former York resident agreed with the MP the noisy visitors were a "key reason" they had left the city but others disagreed, adding Maskell's comments were “unfair to the hospitality industry”.
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Rebecca Hill, Galtres Lodge Hotel managing director and chair of Indie York, an independent business association supproting businesses in the city, said: "Some hen and stag parties are a bit more reserved and aren't just out to get drunk, but the ones we're talking about here don't generally support the independent businesses.
But she added: "A sweeping statement of there being 'devastation' probably isn't reflective of everyone in the city.”
York Council said it aimed for everyone to be able to enjoy the city.
It recently gave police and council officers more powers to deal with alcohol-related anti-social behaviour following a consultation on two Public Space Protection Orders.