RESIDENTS are being encouraged to help shape Skipton's future for the next 20 years.

An action planning day on Wednesday will launch a scheme to develop Yorkshire Forward's Renaissance Market Towns Programme.

The initiative aims to help up to 40 market towns over 10 years win investment to secure their long-term futures. Skipton has been chosen as the second place in the county to receive funding for a consultation exercise to draw up an initial "master-plan".

Anyone with an interest in the future of the town is invited to Skipton Castle on Wednesday between 2pm and 8.30pm.

Nicola Forde, from John Thompson and Partners who will lead the day, said: "Wednesday's event is the start of a process which will lead to the creation of a strategic long-term vision.

"We want to involve the community in exploring Skipton's problems but also encourage them to express their dreams for the town and think of imaginative solutions. This is an opportunity to make a real difference.

"The ideas and energy that emerge will be developed at a community planning weekend on July 11 and 12. We will also be talking to people who can't come to the events."

Wednesday's programme starts at 2pm. Participants be split into groups and will explore different parts of the town, noting their good and bad points. One or two groups will carry out a similar exercise in nearby villages.

Returning to Skipton Castle at 4.30pm, the groups will put their ideas onto paper.

The evening session starts with a "Future Workshop" which will explore local social, cultural and economic issues. Finally there will be a "Way Forward" workshop which will look at how the process can be carried forward.

For more information contact Nicola Forde on 020 7251 5135.