A VISION with bold plans for a new town square and a revamped former Rackham's car park has been launched by Skipton Civic Society.

As part of its 60th birthday celebrations the society has released an imaginative concept plan of how the car park at the back of the former Rackhams/House of Fraser could be transformed into a green public square.

The vision, shows Skipton Town Square would be a new green space extending from the rear of the former Rackham’s building - currently owned by Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group - on its west side, to the shops on Jerry Croft / Rope Walk to the east. The images show the tarmac car park replaced by beds planted with trees, shrubs and flowers alongside seating areas and places for children to play. Local artwork and sculptures could also be incorporated into the design. In addition the concept plans show how surrounding streets and pedestrian links could become attractive, animated, shared spaces.

Steve Wilton from the Society, said: “Through conversations with our members and partners across the town, it has become clear that we need to create a new vision for Skipton that will help to ensure it has a thriving and successful future in our fast-changing world. The Covid pandemic has brought into sharp relief the challenges around online shopping, the climate emergency and the role of culture and heritage.

An overarching vision for the town will help to guide future decisions around investment and development, ensuring that we take the opportunity to ‘build back better’ – and now we need the input of local residents to help shape this vision.”

The civic society has released the plans to kickstart a wider conversation about the future of the town as it responds to the changes that have been accelerated by the impact of the Covid pandemic.

The society says it wants to hear the views of the next generation as it is their future that is under discussion.

To ensure the voices of young people are heard, the society is planning a competition to create ‘Postcards from the Future’ with images and descriptions of how they would want the town to look decades from now.

It is hoped to announce the details of the competition in the very near future.

In the meantime, a line to the concept plan with illustrations by Liz Simson can be found at the society's Facebook page at: tinyurl.com/skipton-vision

Visitors to the page are urged to air their views and post comments in relation to the vision.

Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group has been asked for an update on its own plans for the former Rackhams/House of Fraser building but has yet to make a comment.