CONSULTATION has begun on planned improvements to the canal towpath between Silsden and the border with North Yorkshire.

An upgrade of the section along the Leeds and Liverpool Canal is among a £1.86 million package of measures proposed as part of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s CityConnect programme, which aims to promote cycling and walking.

Improvements are also planned to a stretch of the canal between Apperley Bridge and Shipley, plus on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal.

Towpaths will be widened and resurfaced as part of the initiative.

Councillor Kim Groves, chairman of the combined authority’s transport committee, said: “We are pleased to be working in partnership with the Canal & River Trust – as well as Kirklees and Bradford councils – to continue to develop and improve the canal towpath network across West Yorkshire.

“The improvements are providing people travelling by bike or on foot with safe, scenic traffic-free routes.

“As well as addressing missing links in local cycling and walking infrastructure, these upgrades are helping open-up access to some of our best countryside.”

Improvements to the towpath between Silsden and Riddlesden were completed in 2018. And work has also been carried out on sections in neighbouring North Yorkshire.

Craven ward Bradford-district councillor, Rebecca Whitaker, welcomed the consultation on the latest proposals and urged people to have their say.

She said: “I am supporting the upgrade, as I think it will be a positive thing for Silsden and will enhance the local area.

“It is a relatively uncomplicated stretch to complete. The work is long overdue – I have received many emails and phone calls from people supporting the project and requesting that it be completed as soon as possible.

“If the proposed work is agreed, it will mean we’ll be one step forward towards closing the ‘missing link’ on this important, scenic route. It will provide easier access to the towpath for people with disabilities or mobility issues and will promote better health and wellbeing for all its users.

“I have also suggested that there should be sufficient signage on the towpath to remind users to be courteous towards one another and make cyclists aware that the priority is to the pedestrians.”

She added that she and Keighley MP Robbie Moore were also in communication with the Canal & River Trust, Craven Council and South Craven MP Julian Smith about work in the North Yorkshire area.

The planned improvements can be viewed at

The deadline for comments is Sunday, December 20.