DISLODGED stepping stones over the river at Gargrave are set to be removed for safety reasons.

The stepping stones crossing in the village's Low Green was closed about a year ago after some of the stones were washed away following the collapse of the nearby weir in the winter of 2021/22.

Scapa Healthcare - now Mativ - was given permission to remove weir debris from the river to make it safe. Immediate changes to the flow of the river are now expected to 'slow down' heard a meeting of Gargrave Parish Council.

Last year, the parish council decided to leave the stones in place but to close the crossing off until the summer months when repairs would be easier to carry out.

The crossing, on the village's Low Green, is one of two stepping stone crossings over the River Aire in the village, and is believed to have been in place for about 40 years.

Now, and following the resignation of the previous council chair and the election of a new one, the council is to go ahead and seek quotations for the removal and storage of the dislodged stones - believed to be about six.

Previously, the council sought quotations for repairs to the crossing to make it safe. At its meeting last night (Wednesday), the council also decided that the concrete landing also needed to be removed, and disposed of, and for the safety barriers to remain in place.

Members agreed for safety reasons and because of the large number of people who visited in the summer,  it was better to remove the stones while consideration was given to building a new crossing, which could cost in the region of £30,000 to £40,000.

Earlier in the meeting, representatives from the Environment Agency had said how the collapse of the weir and the following removal of debris from the water had had a 'substantial impact' on the equilibrium of the river and the 'undermining' of the stepping stones. Immediate changes to the river were now expected to slow down, the meeting was told.

Councillors discussed at length what to do with the stepping stones and agreed it was best to remove those that remained in the river before then going on to decide how best to replace the crossing.

Discussion included repairs and maintenance currently taking place to the stepping stones crossing at Bolton Abbey, although a longer crossing and over the River Wharfe.