NO ONE can fail to appreciate the market days traffic free High Street in Skipton.

Being able to walk down the middle of the road with no risk from vehicles and plenty of space to safe distance is a treat. The complete absence of traders' white vans is a wonderful improvement. No wonder there is talk of making it permanent.

However there is no mention of one major problem that it creates. The bus stops on High Street are well used by a number of bus services, or were before the closure. About half of passengers boarded at the Bus Station and half on High Street. Inbound about 90 per cent alighted on High Street.

The popular X84 service, cut back to Ilkley during the coronavirus pandemic, has been been withdrawn permanently. The replacement 784 uses Otley Road to avoid the High Street and does not serve The Baily or Harrogate Road.

That leaves residents on Overdale Grange, Overdale Park, Greenacres and the new Corner Fields estate with no bus service into Skipton or to Ilkley, Otley or Leeds.

When planning permission was granted to Corner Fields (then called the Pig Field) it was stated that it had good public transport access with an hourly service between Skipton and Leeds. Not any more, even before all the houses have been completed.

Another major cutback forced on the bus operators is the 580 service to Settle and Kirkby Lonsdale. That now has to run outbound via Coach Street, a most unsuitable road for buses, but inbound via Broughton Road. Sometimes buses can't get into Coach Street and then have to go via Broughton Road leaving passengers waiting along Gargrave Road not knowing that their bus is not coming.

It leaves the whole of Gargrave Road with no inbound buses. There are some disabled passengers who board or alight along Gargrave Road, how will they manage?

It creates the silly situation that you can get to Keelham Farm Shop by bus, another popular destination, but can't get a bus back.

The 72 bus to Grassington also has to miss out all its local stops within Skipton, either on Raikes Road or Grassington Road. The first outbound stop is The Craven Heifer on Grassington Road.

What will happen when the schools are back and large numbers of buses are needed on Gargrave Road?

Meanwhile car users will hardly notice the difference and can still get in and out of the town. Once again those without access to a car, still a significant proportion of the population, are being seriously inconvenienced or even banished to their homes.

Can our Skipton or Craven councils find an equitable solution?

Tony Young