YORKSHIRE Bank, which vacated Skipton high Street last week, taking an historic plaque with it, has promised it will be returned soon.

Market traders voiced their dismay after noticing the plaque had gone.

It had been installed when the bank was the Yorkshire Penny Bank to mark the history of the building and also a gruesome past event in the town.

It read: “On the site of this bank stood the Bay Horse Inn. Immediately in the forecourt is the bull baiting stone.”

It also raised questions about whether the bank was right in claiming it.

Market trader Julie Holgate informed the market manager as soon as she had noticed it was gone.

She said: “The sign is well known in Skipton because it is a landmark. People use it in treasure hunts and things. It is part of Skipton.

Market manager Stefan Bodnarczuk said when Mrs Holgate got in touch with him he spoke to the Yorkshire Bank, in Keighley, the nearest open branch, and was told that because it was a Yorkshire Penny Bank sign, it actually was owned by the bank.

“They said they didn’t think whoever moved into the building would want it but I told them there was a bit of an outcry going on in the town and people would like to see if back.”

He was told it was ‘company policy’ after a branch closed to remove all external signs so it did not confuse people, particularly the elderly.

“I can’t really see that being a problem because it has Yorkshire Penny Bank on it. It is decades since it was known as that so the sign must have been there for a long time.”

Chairman of Skipton Civic Society, Sheila Clark, said she was unhappy about the news.

“The plaque is indeed a part of Skipton’s history, though not a pretty part,” she said. “I would be very interested to know whether Yorkshire Bank commissioned the work to put the sign up in the first place and if they had the right to remove it..

“Indeed, what about who owns the building? Perhaps they wanted it to remain.

“What’s more, what should be remembered is the high street is in a prime number one conservation area. I would be very concerned about this sort of thing setting a precedent for other lease holders who decided to take plaques with them if they leave.

Now it seems the bank has had a rethink. The Craven Herald approached it for a comment and was told by a spokesman: “The plaque had been removed by the contractors as part of the decommissioning process and is currently at their workshop. They will be returning to site to re-fit it within the next week.”