Opinion: York welcomes Spring Conference

yorkAs the countdown to this weekend continues, I would like to say how pleased I am to be welcoming Spring Conference to York. I have been speaking to local party members, businesses and organisations like Visit York about the conference and it is clear that anticipation is building.

 Visit York estimate that this weekend will boost the city’s economy by more than £600,000. And I know that hotels, B&Bs, guest houses, and restaurants are reporting soaring demand.

Added to the short-term economic boost is the long-term impact that national exposure will bring. It is a showcase for York as a destination for conferences and events. York is a beautiful, well-connected city with the potential to hold many more big political and business conferences. This weekend should just be the beginning….

It is also a chance for our members in York to meet our ministers and MPs as well as councillors and campaigners from across the country. And as we all know, a chance for local party members to actually debate and decide national party policy.

In York, our members have worked tirelessly to recover from disappointing local elections in 2011 and there is a real positivity as we take the fight to the Conservatives in the marginal York Outer seat and provide a real local alternative to Labour on City of York Council. I hope these members have a great time welcoming the party to York and sharing this enthusiasm.

I know from my experiences of conference that as well as enjoying training and debates in the conference centre, it is also an opportunity to really discover places like Glasgow, Newcastle, Bournemouth or Brighton.

So, I hope that visitors this weekend will find a spare hour or so to leave the Barbican Centre and enjoy a trip to see the attractions York has to offer – from the world famous York Minister, to the spectacular Clifford’s Tower to the engrossing National Railway Museum.

Conference goers should also grab a chance to stroll around the beautiful city (bar) walls, sample York’s thriving independent shopping and restaurant scene or enjoy a pint in one of York’s many award-winning pubs.  Talking of which (and here is the plug)….

You can join our York Lib Dems Real Ale Night on the Saturday. This is starting at 7.30pm at the Rook & Gaskill Pub on Lawrence Street – just round the corner from the Barbican.  It will be a chance to try some locally brewed ales and hear from Greg Mulholland on his ‘Fair Deal for your Local’ campaign.

A couple of points of local information:

Labour run York Council have introduced a trial closure (between 10:30am and 5pm) of Lendal Bridge in York’s city-centre. So if you are driving in York this weekend please do not become one of the 40,000 plus motorists who have been caught out – and please note that most SATNAVS will still send you across the bridge! The closure will be lifted this Saturday, due to the planned TUC march, but will be in place on all other days. The closure has been a classic Labour shambles from the start as highlighted by local businesses and York’s own Vince Cable. More info and maps here.

And finally, if any members attending conference fancy doing some campaigning whilst in York this weekend, there is a Focus delivery session on Saturday morning in Dringhouses & Woodthorpe ward, which is the area to the south of the city along the A1036 Tadcaster Road. We’re meeting at 10.30am at 62 Grassholme, Woodthorpe, York, YO24 2ST (http://goo.gl/maps/QxT4G) – for coffee and pastries before heading out to do some delivery. If anyone needs a lift, or would like to do some delivery on their way home on Sunday afternoon, they can call or text our Local Party Chair Stephen Fenton on 07751 963215. Thanks!

I look forward to seeing you there or elsewhere in York this weekend. Enjoy!

* Keith Aspden has been the Councillor for Fulford Ward in York since 2003 and for Fulford and Heslington Ward since 2015. He is the Deputy Leader of City of York Council and the Liberal Democrat Deputy Chair of the LGA Fire Services Management Committee (FSMC).

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Chris Manners 7th Mar '14 - 6:50pm

    “The closure has been a classic Labour shambles from the start as highlighted by local businesses and York’s own Vince Cable.”

    Did he want the bridge sold at a discount instead?

  • Stuart Mitchell 7th Mar '14 - 7:43pm

    “So if you are driving in York this weekend please do not become one of the 40,000 plus motorists who have been caught out – and please note that most SATNAVS will still send you across the bridge!”

    If you’re the kind of idiot who drives past No Entry signs because your SatNav tells you to – please stop driving altogether and switch to public transport.

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