York & North Yorkshire

York's Harry Potter street hit by 'ear-piercing' alarms

York's Shambles Image copyright Geograph/Paul Buckingham
Image caption York's Shambles is home to a number of Harry Potter-themed shops

Tourists visiting a York street famous for its Harry Potter connection have been met with "ear-piercing" sirens after a new fire alarm system was installed.

A string of false alarms has been reported on the Shambles, which is said to have been an inspiration for Diagon Alley.

The council has praised the new fire alarm system as a success.

But some traders say it is frightening visitors and costing them money.

The picturesque Shambles is known for its similarity to the magical merchant market in the Harry Potter films.

The council owns 70% of properties on the cobblestoned street and installed the new fire alarm system earlier this year, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

Phil Pinder said he now has fire alarms in every room of The Potions Cauldron including the toilet.

"When the alarms go off people always ask what's going on," said Mr Pinder.

"You can see the worry straight away in their faces because it's so loud people instantly think it's some kind of terrorist attack."

'So loud you can't sit and eat'

A council meeting on Monday heard the system was "one of the biggest positives" of its health and safety programme.

But shortly afterwards, at about 17:55 BST, the fire alarms went off.

"Whilst the activation was not caused by any faults within the system, we apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused," said Nick Collins, head of commercial assets at City of York Council.

Less than 24 hours later, at about 13:40 on Tuesday, firefighters were called again after a smoke alarm went off inside a commercial premises.

Keith McLean said diners left his pub, the Shambles Tavern, because of the alarms.

"It's so loud you can't sit and eat," he said. "I've told the council it's affecting my business."

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said it worked with businesses to try to "alleviate the causes of false alarms".

Follow BBC Yorkshire on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Send your story ideas to yorkslincs.news@bbc.co.uk.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites