CONTROVERSIAL plans to install rapid electric charging vehicle points on Skipton High Street have been withdrawn - but with a stark forecast on the future of the town's market.

The application by Osprey Charging Network - which has already installed EV charging points across Craven - to site three charging points on the setts in front of High Street House was opposed by Skipton Town Council and Skipton Civic Society.

In its 'strong objection', the town council, which runs the four-times a week market, stated that the application 'totally contradicts the status of public highway and Skipton Town Council's franchise to the market area'.

It added: "This area is used for enforced parking on non-market and on market days is covered by market bylaws and held in franchise by Skipton Town Council."

The civic society was equally opposed saying that it would be a change of use from public highway and market place to a new use of official car parking.

The application has now been withdrawn before North Yorkshire Council was able to make a decision and even before the highways authority made any observations.

But, in a rebuttal statement, Andrew Mear, owner of High Street House, and 'frontager/owner' of the setts where the charging points were to go, says the market is doomed unless it changes.

Mr Mear, who is also chairman of Skipton BID, said it was 'disappointing' that the town council had taken a negative approach to EV chargers on the High Street, where there are currently none.

And he said while true, the comments from the council were 'somewhat erroneous'. He points out that the market is held four days a week and never during the evenings, when the charging points could be used. He adds that the market has not been full for years and there are always gaps, including when the weather is bad and when the setts are 'full of cars'.

He states: "Every town centre has suffered at the hands of out-of-town shopping centres and more recently the rise of online shopping. The installation of more electric charging points is vital and may encourage more locals and tourists to come to Skipton."

Mr Mear says he has three market pitches in front of his property, one has been empty for ten years, and he suspects it will be difficult to fill the other two once the current traders retire.

He said: "Unfortunately, the concept of markets is a flawed philosophy in a modern world and will see a continual decline, unless it adapts and captures a new imagination. There is no reason why electric charging points, and the market cannot coexist.

"As an investor looking to adapt and change to market forces and having experienced the waning of income from the market, a new reliable income stream has been identified. There is clearly a lack of provision (in electric car charging points).

"Considering the changes in society and the need to move to more environmentally friendly transport system, being the first landowner to install electric car charges on the High Street is a good thing and should be encouraged."