HOW nice it was for pedestrians to be able to enjoy sole access to Skipton’s beautiful High Street (for the duration of the Covid restrictions) and what a shame that this brief outbreak of sanity has now been reversed.

I don’t know what justification North Yorkshire County Council had for making this cretinous and outdated reversal, but Skipton was self-evidently a better place when motor vehicles were briefly prevented from inflicting noise, congestion and damaging emissions upon the innocent public.

It does seem incredible that a town, whose high street has repeatedly been voted the best in England, is prevented from utilising it for the sole enjoyment of people.

Not people in noisy cars, lorries or SUVs, but people actually getting about quietly on their legs, in the way that humans have been doing for hundreds of thousands of years. Go to any beautiful town or city in Europe – Rome, Paris, Munich, – and witness the simple delight people have when busy thoroughfares are pedestrianised, and the public are given open access to spaces previously dominated by motor traffic.

About ten years ago I asked a local councillor if it might be possible to pedestrianise the High Street on market days, and he said it was a very good idea, but it no chance whatever of ever being enacted. It appears he was entirely correct. But I would offer the counter-argument: if not now, when?

Nicholas Hewes


Note - North Yorkshire County Council has previously stated that the temporary closure of the High Street on market days was introduced to allow the market to operate under social distancing measures during the coronavirus pandemic. The closures stopped on September 6.

The council said it had received representations from local businesses objecting to to the closure which they said had disrupted deliveries, bus services and school transport.

The continued closure of the High Street would also have coincided with lengthy road works requiring the full closure of The Bailey in addition to work on Broughton Road, Swadford Street and Coach Street.