A VICTORIAN-style metal staircase at the Otley Street entrance to Craven Court could be scrapped in plans to replace it with apartments and ground floor shops.

The staircase is a continuation of the interior style of the shopping court which was opened in 1988 and since then has welcomed both Prince Charles and Princess Anne on separate occasions.

A planning application has been lodged with Craven District Council from Vale Real Estate, of Regent Street, London.

The proposals are to demolish the existing planting and metal staircase as part of a new development of ground floor retail units and four apartments with the reconfiguration of the public space and entrance to the shopping court.

A number of objectors have already lodged their thoughts.

John and Samantha Bollen, of Otley Street, said: “This proposed new development is within the conservation area and does not respect the character of its immediate surroundings, nor does it demonstrate a high standard of design.

“The three storey building which currently forms part of the entrance to Craven Court shopping centre is a listed building dating to 1674.

“The new development would not only be attached to this building, but would obscure the view of it.

“The scheme is an overdevelopment. It would darken the shop fronts and create an ugly walkway.”

The objector also stated there may be an increase in traffic flow along the one-way street and that there was no parking provision for the shops and apartments.

“The amenity of the occupants of the area surrounding the proposed development would be impacted upon.

“There could also be a significant loss in trade for businesses in both Court Lane and Otley Street.

Sheila Coe, of The Box of Delights, in Otley Street, also noted her objections.

She said: “The buildings planned, if erected, will completely alter the nature of this part of Otley Street, which is a conservation area.

“Four retail units with apartments above would destroy all this..

“Do we need any more shops in Skipton? There are already four cafes in Otley Street. I wonder what the existing cafe owners think about this.”

A Regent Avenue objector added: “This proposal is unacceptable on many grounds but mainly because it would be gross

overdevelopment of an already (historically) congested site.

“The removal of the current small green space would be a great loss.

“The dwellings would be ridiculously small. There is no hint of any car parking provision.

“Skipton does not need any more small retail spaces, and certainly no more cafes.”

The district council’s environmental health department has advised on limited operation times for construction to help reduce noise nuisance to nearby residences.

Representations in support or objecting to the application must be with the district council’s planning department by Friday, June 15.

No date has yet been made for the planning application to be determined.