HOW very welcome it is to see the owners of the former Rackhams department store in Skipton come up with a plan for its refurbishment and redevelopment.

Closed since 2019, still with bits of old shop fittings inside, and now starting to look seriously shabby with broken windows and a forced door at the back, the future looked grim for the building which has an impressive retail history going back several decades.

The day of the department store may have gone, at least in a town the size of Skipton, but converting the building into units, now that is an idea that is both exciting and wise.

Back in the days when it was Brown, Muff's, it was one of the jewels of Skipton High Street. Full page advertisements in the Craven Herald spoke of the very latest fashions for ladies and gentlemen.

In its final years as a House of Frazer store, it clearly was on borrowed time and had been for some time. It started to look worn around the edges and the only time it was busy was at sale time. Its day had passed.

So, after five years of lying empty, a great gaping hole in the High Street could be filled and brought back to life. It represents a wonderful opportunity for the good of the town and for Craven.