LIGHTS have gone up in Skipton's Aireville Park in a bid to make walkers and cyclists feel safer during the dark evenings.

The lights, which are controlled by a timer, line the main path through the 20-acre park off Gargrave Road and have been installed to make the area more accessible and safer at night.

The lighting has been made possible thanks to a £9,000 grant to the Friends of Aireville Park from Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Zoë Metcalfe, and is the last project for the friends group which is winding up after 10 years of fundraising, advocating and shaping developments in the public park.

Fiona Protheroe, former chair of FoAP said: “We're so pleased to have supported the lights project. We were aware how many people felt unsafe going through the park in the dark, and this put them off walking to school, to the gym and to the train station in winter months. We wanted to enable people – especially women – to keep using the park all year round.”

Councillor Keane Duncan, North Yorkshire Council’s executive member for highways and transportation, said: “It’s great to see Aireville Park well-lit, making the area safer for park users.

"Aireville Park is popular with locals and people who travel from far and wide to access the recently redeveloped playground, skate park, pump track and, of course, Craven Leisure. The green space has improved considerably over the last five years and I am glad more and more people will now feel safe accessing it during the darker evenings.”

Commissioner Metcalfe said: “I am really delighted to be able to support this project with my Community Fund. Creating environments where people feel safe is one of my top priorities. These new lights along the path and to the new housing estate to the east of the park will mean that the route is used more frequently and help people to be safe and feel safe.”

Combined with funding obtained from Yorkshire property developers Rushbond, the lights on the path to the exits for both Gargrave Road and Granville Street have been welcomed by the community.

Skipton student, Imogen Ross, 17, said: “I love the new lights. I feel so much safer going to Craven Leisure Centre in the evenings now."

Cllr Simon Myers, who frequently uses the park, thanked members of FoAP for their hard work in obtaining the funding and said he was pleased that avenues had been explored to make the green space more welcoming for all ages.

Katie Birks, a former member of FoAP committee, added installing the lights had proved to be a “wonderful example” of the council’s staff engaging with a local community group to “achieve something that benefits everyone”.

“We're very grateful to the funding from the PFCC that helped make the project happen.”