Otley hosts street party for World Car Free Day

Otley is to celebrate World Car Free Day this Sunday (September 22, 2019) with a family fun eco-themed street party.

The party – designed to give motorists and commuters an idea of their locality with fewer cars – will see the town’s main thoroughfare, historic Boroughgate, closed from 11am to 5pm, and the street will be lined with picnic tables for people to dine outside, either bringing their own picnic lunch or purchasing goods from local shops and cafés that will open specifically for the day. Participating stores include Otah’s Leah, Salami & Co, Casa Vitae and the Black Horse Hotel.

For those with children, the event will feature games and pastimes organised by Breeze Leeds – these will include a HIT reflex test game, where participants attempt to tag a series of illuminated cones, arts & crafts tables, skipping ropes, hula hoops, giant Jenga, swing balls and a giant Snakes & Ladders. A stall by Playful Anywhere and a Sticker Art stall will also be present.

Otley became one of the first councils in the country to declare a climate emergency earlier this year, and a number of local green and eco organisations will also have stalls.

Leeds City Council – which chose Otley alongside Headingley and Beeston to be one of three city localities to celebrate Car-Free Day – will be present with a Big Leeds Climate Conversation stall with posters, feather flags and bunting.

Otley 2030 – a local community organisation dedicated to creating a sustainable and carbon neutral town by the year 2030 – will also be present, as will Wildlife Friendly Otley and Otley Town Council. The latter’s stall will be offering visitor information and promoting walking trails around the town, as well as selling reusable cups and eco-friendly bags.

The town’s Oxfam store will also open specifically for the day to promote Second Hand September – a national campaign urging people to shop less over the course of the month.

From an entertainment perspective, the event falls on the same day as the Otley Open Town Crier Competition and the second day of the Otley Folk Festival. The criers will be delivering their second cry of the afternoon at 2.30pm in honour of World Car Free Day in neighbouring Market Place, as well as parading down Boroughgate before the competition’s lunch break at 1pm. The folk festival sees a host of gigs in various venues around the town.

Chair of Otley Town Council Ray Georgeson said: “We are very proud to be one of the first councils in the country to officially recognise the threat posed by climate crisis and also to have been chosen by Leeds City Council as one of the city’s locations for World Car Free Day.

“We encourage people to leave their cars at home for the day and either use public transport or pedal power to come and visit Otley to celebrate and take part in the fantastic events throughout the town during the day.”

Visitors to Otley are asked that they enjoy the day responsibly and take home, recycle and dispose of any materials or packaging brought to the event.