THERE'S no doubt about it, Skipton being named amongst the top places to live in the North East makes us all feel good, or it should.

Remember when the town was named by The Sunday Times as the best place to live in Britain? That was 10 years ago, and now it's back in the list. It may have been beaten by Leeds for the top spot in the district, but back it is, and rightly so.

Of course, living in the area, we might not always see it, some of us might just see the empty shops, the potholes and the rain. We might think there are too many charity shops, and not enough going on.

But to Skipton's critics, just take a step back and take another look. The empty shops don't stay empty for long, there is even a plan to breathe new life into Rackhams, currently the largest hole on the High Street, and the once sad town hall is a hive of activity, and a centre for culture most towns and even cities would be proud of.

Skipton has one of the best preserved medieval castles in the country, a beautiful woodland walk minutes from the High Street, a busy public park, and high achieving schools. It's also got a railway station, which might one day have all the pot holes in the car park filled in.

And it's also the Gateway to the Dales; a place where an awful lot of people are happy to travel several hours to get to; and yet it is on our doorstep. So, to all the naysayers - take another look and perhaps visit some of those places locally with fresh eyes.