A CONSULTATION which could lead to the development of around 80 new homes next to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal in Skipton has been launched by Craven District Council.

The council, which late last year accepted a Homes England: Accelerated Construction Grant of £2.3 million aimed at helping local authorities, like Craven, build its own homes, is asking people in the Horse Close area of the town for their comments about a new road bridge across the canal.

The existing canal bridge, at the end of Cawder Lane, is already well used by both vehicles and pedestrians and also as a cut through from Keighley Road and Shortbank Road.

Now, Craven Barnfield Regeneration Ltd, a joint venture partnership between Craven District Council and Barnfield Investment Properties Ltd, is preparing to submit a planning application for a new road bridge.

The joint venture partnership hopes the new bridge will be built alongside the existing, narrow canal bridge, from Cawder Lane to Keighley Road and will be used by vehicles.

The listed canal bridge will remain where it is, and be used by just people on foot and cyclists, says the council.

Councillor Patrick Mulligan, Craven District Council’s lead member for financial resilience and a member of the Craven Barnfield Regeneration Ltd board, said he hoped plenty of residents would come along to a drop-in consultation, due to take place on June 20, when they could ask questions about the proposals.

“We would like to invite all interested residents to come along and see these plans,” he said.

“Representatives from Craven Barnfield Regeneration will be on hand to answer any questions people may have and will welcome comments.

“The new road bridge will be wider and safer, while the existing bridge will provide safe pedestrian and cycle access to the canal and Keighley Road.”

He added: “This work will be paid for by a £2.3 million Homes England grant, which is intended to help build the infrastructure needed for housing developments. This is part of a wider plan to deliver a number of benefits, including the provision of much needed housing, including affordable housing, for Craven communities.”

Cllr Mulligan said there would be a further planning application for the residential development of about 80 houses on council owned land at Horse Close when people would be able to comment on those plans.

The site at Horse Close has been earmarked for residential development for several years, but has been dormant since 2016 after the council ended its ties with housebuilder, Lovell.

The ending of the partnership came after Lovell submitted a scheme for 88 homes instead of the planned 110 and less than half the number of affordable properties wanted by the council.

Residents close to the site were also concerned its development would lead to flooding of their properties and welcomed the rejection of the scheme even before it reached the council’s planning committee.

The new road bridge consultation will take place on Thursday, June 20 at the Greatwood and Horse Close Community Centre, North Parade, from 4pm to 7pm.