Businesses hit by impending Yorkshire Water works in Skipton have been promised compensation.

Last Wednesday, at a drop-in session, the water company tried to reassure business owners, residents and the town council about its £900,000 project, which is due to start early next year and take six months to complete.

The work, to relieve sewer flooding of 13 properties, will mean the construction of a huge underground reservoir beneath Coach Street car park.

Up to half of the car park will be taken up by the works and construction traffic, and access will be via High Street and Swadford Street. It will also coincide with the Waterway Festival, which is held over the early May Bank holiday weekend and includes the siting of a large marquee in the Coach Street car park.

At the drop-in session, a steady stream of businesses and shop owners asked whether signage would be put in place and whether they would be compensated if adversely affected.

They were told Yorkshire Water did operate a compensation system, but they would have to provide evidence of the business being hit.

Meanwhile, Skipton Town Council and Skipton Business Improvement District (BID) will be working together to mitigate any disruption.

The situation in the town centre could be made worse if work also starts in the new year on the redevelopment of 9 High Street, as developers predicted, which will result in the loss of car parking spaces in the town hall car park.

Dave Parker, chief officer of the town council, said: “It’s important that we always look to maintain the profile of the whole of the town centre and we want to make sure that visitors to Skipton know that the area around Coach Street is still very much open for business.”

He said the council’s town centre management team and Skipton BID would produce material to ensure that part of the town was not overlooked while the work was being carried out.

“We haven’t worked out the final details yet, but this is likely to include additional leaflets, maps and temporary signage, and our town centre ambassadors will be providing additional information to visitors and increasing their level of focus on this part of town.”

He said further steps to mitigate any problems would be announced early in the new year.

The building of the 15 metres in diameter and 10 metres deep circular reservoir is due to start on Monday, January 7.

A spokeswoman for Yorkshire Water said: “We have listened to the concerns of the businesses and residents and hope to work with them throughout the project to mitigate any negative impact this project could have.”