A PLANNED new modern entrance to Skipton Town Hall was given the go-ahead by Craven planners this week.

Despite some expressing concern about the use of zinc for the ramped entrance and new toilet block, other planning committee members welcomed the use of a modern material.

The building, which will replace the concrete utilitarian toilet block fronting Jerry Croft, will also include a lift, allowing disabled access to the public building.

Councillors heard that the new building would be almost half the size of the current block and would be followed with another scheme to remove the disabled access at the front of the grade two listed hall.

Coun Ady Green (Cons, Cowling), who moved approval of the application submitted by the council itself, said he thought the use of zinc complemented the more traditional materials of the hall.

And Coun John Kerwin-Davey (Ind, Skipton North) said: "The current toilet block is an abomination and can only be the brainchild of a local authority."

He further congratulated the council on coming up with a far better disabled access to the town hall.

Coun Robert Mason (Ind, West Craven) said the Jerry Croft side of the town hall was not its best side and thought it difficult to spoil.

Skipton Town Council raised no objections to the scheme, but commented its members would prefer the use of traditional materials.

But English Heritage was supportive of the use of zinc and the removal of "unsympathetic elements".

"The proposed zinc clad building would provide a visually interesting addition to the existing building and appears to meet the English Heritage Conservation principles," said the report to committee.

Councillors approved the application, with the condition that dropped kerbstones were used to access the entrance - despite being advised it would normally be covered by building regulations.

The removal of the concrete toilet block and new entrance is part of initial £400,000 improvements to the town hall and its development as a cultural hub.

There is a longer term ambition to secure cash from the Heritage Lottery Fund based on the valuable and historic assets in Craven Museum and Gallery, such as the Shakespeare First Folio, currently on loan to York.