Skipton town centre canal project – progress update
Work to upgrade Skipton’s Canal Basin and Springs Branch towpath is now well underway and improvements to the main towpath in the town centre are due to start shortly.
The works at the Canal Basin are nearing completion, whilst repairs have been made to the Springs Branch towpath. Improvements have also been made to the garden at Mill Bridge and benches along the waterfront have been refurbished and repositioned.
The work at the Canal Basin, which will provide a more suitable space for regular events and festivals in the town, is due to be completed by September 20, in time for the Skipton Puppet Festival in early October.
The next section of the project, work on the main towpath, between Belmont Bridge and Gawflat Bridge, is due to take place between September 23 and the end of November.
This work has been scheduled to start after the school summer holidays, and will be carried out in phases with temporary closures of the path while work is undertaken.
This project will include widening and resurfacing of the towpath where possible, relaying and repointing the flags next to Victoria Mill and resurfacing next to the McCarthy and Stone apartments. Benches will be refurbished and repositioned and new wooden litter bins will be installed. Trip hazards and gaps will be reduced and there will be new visitor signage.
Councillor Simon Myers, Craven District Council’s Lead Member for Enterprising Craven, said: “I’m delighted that the work on Skipton’s canal waterfront is progressing well, and look forward to seeing it completed later this year.
“We’re carrying out these improvements in order to provide a better traffic-free route for people to walk to work, schools and college, and access shops, leisure facilities and services around the town.
“The towpath has become worn over the years and there are a number of areas which need tackling to make it more accessible.
“This work will ensure that the Leeds & Liverpool Canal continues to be a fantastic asset for residents and workers, as well as a great tourist attraction which benefits the local economy.”
The first phase of work on the main towpath will be on a short stretch at Belmont Bridge. Residents are advised to look out for closure and diversion signs.
The project is being funded by the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Local Enterprise Partnership. The works form the first part of the £5m Growth Deal project that also include improvements to Engine Shed Lane, water management along Ings Beck and Gallow Syke and the preparation of a masterplan around Skipton Railway Station.
The final design for the scheme has been agreed with the Canal & River Trust, the waterway and wellbeing charity that looks after the Leeds & Liverpool Canal. Work is being carried out by Blackburn based contractors, O’Callaghan Ltd.
Sean McGinley, Director for Yorkshire & NE at Canal & River Trust said: “It’s great to see progress being made on this project, which complements the £2.1 million project we are managing to help transform the towpath on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal between Skipton to Gargrave, and Bradley to Kildwick,
“We know what a fantastic resource our canals and rivers are to help us unwind and relax and by working with Craven District Council to help realise these improvements along Skipton’s waterfront we hope to encourage even more people to spend time by water.”
Whilst the work is being carried out it will be necessary to temporarily close sections of towpath and moorings. Towpath closures will be notified online by the Canal & River Trust at www.canalrivertrust.org.uk, through signage on the towpath and available on the Council website at www.cravendc.gov.uk/canalwaterfront