A SIXTY seater electric powered restaurant boat has been given the all clear to cruise on the Leeds Liverpool canal around Skipton.

Just 12 months ago the plans for the boat were sunk when the district council refused permission, citing noise nuisance as the main concern.

However, new plans resurfaced and, with conditions, has been allowed.

The boat, called Graceful Swan, has cost in the region of £300,000 to build.

It was designed by Thomas Randell, a business partner of the Rendezvous. It resembles a canal narrow boat and measures 60 feet long and 14 feet wide.

Mr Randell said the boat would run for a maximum of six hours in any 24 hours before needing to be recharged.

Malcolm Weaving, owner of Rendezvous said he was delighted the plans had eventually been passed, though at the same time concerned that it will be later in the year when it will be in full action because of the current coronavirus pandemic.

He said: “Permission has come at a bad time because of this awful coronavirus. We are getting a lot of cancellations at the hotel so we will have to wait it out and wait for the virus to go. But once it is over we will be off like a greyhound out of trap one.

“The boat is fully kitted out and runs beautifully. We have had a few runs out and it is obvious it is going to bring a lot of business to Skipton.

“It is unique, the first electrically-powered restaurant barge on the canals of Great Britain.

“It is so quiet. There is no engine noise, no fumes, no vibration and all you can hear is the ripples from the water.

“There are 4.2 tonnes of batteries powering it. It really is going to be a trailblazer.”

He said he had a certificate from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and was just waiting for a licence from the Canal and Rivers Trust in order to sail and then would have ‘all our ducks in a row’.

The conditions attached to permission include a unilateral undertaking which he has signed.

The undertaking lists a number of covenants with the council which include ensuring no customers or patrons be on the boat outside the hours of 8.30am and 11.30pm and a maximum of 10 customers or patrons allowed on the bow or stern between the same hours, except when the vessel was between Snaygill Swing Bridge and Snaygill Stone Bridge when the latest time was 8.30pm.

There must be no floodlights used in built-up areas and all barge hatches and side, stern and how doors to remain closed between 8.30pm and 11.30pm, other than to allow entry and egress.