THE owners of Craven Court shopping centre in Skipton have been given the go-ahead to replace an unsafe external metal staircase.

The ornate, spiral staircase at the side, Otley Street entrance to the centre, and which is currently closed off, will be rebuilt with a 'like-for-like' structure.

In a design and access statement, agents for the owners say corrosion of the steelwork of the staircase has left it unsafe to use.

In an officer's report, recommending approval, North Yorkshire Council's heritage advisor says that the proposed works are 'necessary to make the staircase safe for use again. I consider that the proposals will retain the fundamental character and appearance of the staircase and will cause no harm to either the setting of the nearby listed buildings, or to the character and appearance of the Skipton Conservation Area."

The report concludes: "The proposal is considered to result in less than substantial harm to the designated heritage asset, but this is considered to be outweighed by the benefits of the scheme and would not significantly or demonstrably outweigh the overarching presumption in favour of sustainable development."

Conditions attached to the planning consent include that work starts within three years and that the replacement staircase be painted black to match the existing staircase within six months of installation.