SKIPTON’S popular artisan market faces an uncertain future after the town council demanded it runs only one Sunday per month rather than the four it has been operating for two years.

Businesses say they are puzzled why the town council is seeking to restrict an event which brings visitors to the town and is supported by locals.

A petition calling on Skipton Town Council to think again has attracted 2000 signatures. Organisers Richard and Sue Feather said the artisan market, held on the Canal Basin, did not compete with the High Street market - indeed all but one of the High Street stallholders had signed the petition calling for the event to continue as it is.

Skipton Town Council grants an annual licence for the artisans market which attracts more than 20 stalls, three-quarters of them from traders living in Skipton or surrounding villages.

At a meeting of the town council’s market committee, Councillors Darren Shaw and John Dawson said the original licence was for one Sunday each month and the increase to four was without consent. They voted to go back to the original terms.

However Mr Feather said the increase to four was with the full knowledge and verbal agreement of the town council.

Mr Feather said he feared the market would close as traders seek a regular outlet to protect their livelihoods. He also said other shop and café owners in the area wanted the market to continue as it provided a boost for their takings.

“We do all the organising, ensure health and safety regulation is kept, provide first aid staff and fire marshals so it does not cost the town council anything,” said Mr Feather.

“During Covid lockdown we kept going providing 15 stalls each week when the High Street market could only operate with three food stalls.

“Now, when everyone is trying to recover from Covid, the town council seems to be going the opposite way and killing off the businesses.”

One of those affected is Luc Daguzan, who manufactures artisan bread in Skipton and sells his produce on both the High Street and Canal Basin.

“I don’t understand the logic,” said Mr Daguzan. “The artisan market pulls in locals and visitors, it’s well run and is the only thing happening in the town on almost every Sunday. The council wants to block a market in a market town, it doesn’t make sense.”