Ripon’s historic market square won’t be ripped up and tarmacked
Last updated Nov 20, 2023
Market Square
Readers of two national newspapers along with Ripon residents and visitors have been reassured that the city’s Market Square is not going to be ripped up and replaced with tarmac.
On Saturday, in the wake of news North Yorkshire Council is going to spend £630,000 on resurfacing the Market Place East and Market Place West roads, the Daily Mail and Daily Express published stories claiming the historic Market Square would also be resurfaced with tarmac.
A comprehensive resurfacing scheme has been included in the council’s capital budget programme for next year, because the current road surface, made up of block sets on top of a raft foundation that rests on a bed of sand, is constantly breaking up under the weight of vehicles, ranging from cars to double decker buses.

Market Place East

The Daily Mail story said that there was:
“Fury at plans to dig up stones of historic market square”
While the Daily Express claimed:
“A beautiful market town is being ruined with the council ripping up the historic square to lay tarmac.”
The reports led to concern but Ripon City Council leader Andrew Williams, who is a member of the Conservative and Independents group on North Yorkshire Council, confirmed there is no such plan.
He told the Stray Ferret:
“It’s unfortunate that the two papers appear to have got hold of the wrong end of the stick and given their readers a mistaken impression of what is actually planned.
“The resurfacing with tarmac, which is going to take place next October, is designed to ensure a uniformly smooth surface for the roads on either side of the square, making them safe for use by pedestrians, drivers and cyclists.”
Cllr Williams added:
“Part of Ripon City Council’s double devolution bid is to take control of Market Square, so that we can ensure that the block sets on the square, which were put in place 20 years ago, are properly maintained at this historic location.”
Main picture: Market Square will not be resurfaced with tarmac — but roads on either side will be.

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