THE first part of major improvements to areas around the Leeds and Liverpool Canal in Skipton is nearing completion.

Contractors are almost finished working on the Canal Basin and will shortly be moving onto the towpath between the town’s Belmont Bridge and Gawflatt Bridge. The work is due to start - weather permitting - on September 23 and is due to be completed by the end of November.

The work has been timed to start after the school summer holidays, and will be carried out in phases, including temporary closures of the tow path.

It will include widening and resurfacing of the towpath, where possible, the re-laying and repointing of flag stones next to Victoria Mill and resurfacing next to the McCarthy and Stone apartments.

Benches will also 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.”

Cllr Myers added: “This work will ensure that the canal continues to be a fantastic asset for residents and workers, as well as a great tourist attraction which benefits the economy.”

The project is being funded by the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Local Enterprise Partnership and is the first part of the £5million 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 and River Trust and work is being carried out by Blackburn based contractors, O’Callaghan Ltd.

Sean McGinley, Director for Yorkshire and North East at Canal and 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 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.”

Temporary towpath closures will be notified online by the Canal and River Trust online at:, through signage on the towpath and available on the council’s website at:

Work at the Canal Basin is due to be completed by September 20 in time for Skipton Puppet Festival in early October.