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Craven District Council

Consultation on plans to refurbish canal waterfront in Skipton Town Centre

Craven District Council, in partnership with the Canal & River Trust, is holding a consultation on plans to give the Leeds Liverpool Canal waterfront a makeover.

A drop-in consultation event is being held on October 5, from 4pm to 7pm at Belle Vue Square, Broughton Road, Skipton. This will be followed with an online survey and a display in Skipton Town Hall from October 9 to 13. 

The council has hired landscape architects Newground to develop proposals to improve the canal waterfront.

These include plans to improve the canal pathways in the town centre, upgrade bins and benches, and improve signage and lighting.

There are proposals to widen the paths where possible, extend the setts at the Brewery Bridge road crossing, and provide new picnic tables and benches.

The "pocket park" on Coach Street would be improved with new surfaces and benches and work carried out to tidy up the shrubs, trees and plants.

There are also proposals to refurbish the area between Mill Bridge and High Corn Mill, to provide a better gateway to Skipton Woods.

Water Street's "pocket park" would also benefit from an improved social space, with a picnic table and more seating, resurfaced towpaths and more signage to direct people to walks along the canal and shopping opportunities.  

Councillor Simon Myers, lead member for Enterprising Craven, said: "We would like as many people to get involved in this consultation. We want to understand how people currently use and view the canal waterfront and what they think of the proposals to improve it, and we welcome any suggestions to refine the scheme."

Nick Smith, enterprise manager from the Canal & River Trust said: "Our charity looks after the Leeds Liverpool Canal which runs through the heart of Skipton.  This 200-year old waterway is a fantastic recreational resource that attracts thousands of visitors each year, from boaters and canoeists to anglers, cyclists and walkers.  We really hope that the community take this opportunity to come down and share their views on how they would like their local canal to look in the future."

Officers from Craven District Council, and representatives from Newground and the Canal & River Trust will be available at the drop-in event to answer questions and talk through the plans.

A number of improvements to the canal in Craven have taken place over the last few years. In 2016 Craven District Council and the Canal & River Trust worked together on a £450,000 project, funded by the Department of Transport, which helped to improve the canal towpath between Skipton and Bradley in 2016.

Craven District Council and the Canal & River Trust are also bidding for funding from the Rural Development Programme for England, to further improve cycle and pedestrian connectivity along the Canal corridor, from Skipton north-west to Gargrave, and the stretch from Bradley south to the border with the Bradford District - a total of 13.5km.

Craven District Council has agreed to contribute £200,000 towards this project, which would improve accessibility along the canal for local residents and enhance the waterway as a visitor destination for walkers, cyclists, boaters and canoeists.