OWNERS of the former London, Midland and Scottish (LMS) football pitch in Skipton are seeking approval to carry out work to make it an 'improved grass pitch' and not a synthetic 3G pitch, which was previously opposed by Sport England, says North Yorkshire Council.

The council says the application for the site off Carleton New Road, next to Sandylands Sports Centre, which also includes a two-storey car park, and the removal of dilapidated changing rooms, has been subject to 'several changes' by the applicant which had resulted in confusion by some consultees, including Sport England. 

But the council says all consultees have now been made aware of the alterations to the original scheme which is under consideration by planning officers.

Owners Dalesway Construction is proposing a two-storey car park, which will relieve pressure on parking on nearby residential roads, and to improve the former grass LMS football pitch, which has not been used for several years.

The company, owned by two Skipton businessmen, has since 2020 submitted plans, including for a 3G synthetic pitch, which were withdrawn following discussions over several years with the former Craven District Council.

In its submissions to the council, Dalesway's agent, Planning Prospects, says the intention is to now provide a car park 'for the benefit of the town centre' and 'to deliver improvements to the grass pitch, rather delivering an artificial grass pitch'.

The improved grass pitch will be leased to Skipton Hub(next door) for a nominal fee following the building of the car park, it is stated, with the hub responsible for the maintenance of the pitch.

"The latest proposals will deliver tangible improvements to the existing playing pitch which would otherwise remain unmanaged and unused. The proposed car park forms both an enabling development for the proposed pitch improvements and delivers a much-needed parking resource for the benefit of Skipton town centre and employment areas and also the town’s railway station. Importantly, the proposed car park will also provide much-needed parking for people using the sports facilities at the wider sports hub and pitches, and for people using the proposed improved playing pitch."

North Yorkshire Council’s assistant director of planning, Trevor Watson, said: “The application has been subject to several changes by the applicant which has resulted in some confusion when previously submitted documents which referred to a 3G pitch were updated.

“The current scheme is now seeking approval for an improved grass pitch with all consultees being made aware of the alterations.”