COUNCILLORS have agreed to move to the next phase of plans which could see a development of around 80 new homes next to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal in Skipton.

Following a consultation in June last year into proposals to build a second, wider road bridge next to the existing, listed canal bridge from Cawder Lane to Keighley Road, Craven District Council’s Policy Committee has agreed to move to the planning application stage.

Craven Barnfield Regeneration Ltd, the Joint Venture Partnership between the council and Barnfield Construction Ltd, is now ready to submit a planning application for the bridge by the end of January.

If approved, the new road bridge will be built next to the existing canal bridge, which will become a bridge for pedestrians and cyclists only.

A council spokesman said a further report will go to the Policy Committee setting out the final detailed business case and an independent financial appraisal of the final contract costs.

Another report, setting out the masterplan for the development of housing on the council-owned site at Horse Close, will be submitted to the Policy Committee in June 2020.

Feedback from the consultation last year is being taken into account by the development company and an additional traffic assessment has been commissioned.

The bridge is being funded with a grant of £2.17 million from the Homes England Accelerated Construction Fund.

The council says the new bridge will significantly improve access and road safety on to Cawder Lane from Keighley Road by creating an additional traffic lane and improving pedestrian and cycle facilities.

The site at Horse Close has been earmarked for residential development for several years for more than 100 homes but has been dormant since 2016 after the council ended its ties with housebuilder, Lovell.

A scheme for 88 houses at the site was opposed by residents and was rejected without even reaching the council’s planning committee. In the Craven Local Plan, the site is earmarked for 110 homes.