Skipton Town Council

About the Council

Skipton Town Council is part of a three-tiered Council system (along with North Yorkshire County Council and Craven District Council) and provides a range of services to the town of Skipton in North Yorkshire.

The Council was created as part of the Local Government Act 1972, which came into force in 1974 as part of a reorganisation of local government across the country.

The reorganisation saw the abolition of the old Skipton Urban District Council and Skipton Rural District Council and created the new Craven District Council alongside Skipton Town Council.

Responsibility for Council services was split between the two new authorities, with the bulk of services being taken on by the new District Council. Skipton Town Council took responsibility for a number of services specific to the Parish of Skipton and the role of Town Mayor was created. The chains of the former Chairman of the Urban District Council passed to the new Town Council, and a new crest was added to the chain.

Over the last 40 years, the role of the Town Council has evolved, taking account of changes in the Town - and it has adopted a number of new roles and services.

The Council has had a number of operational bases, including the Old Town Hall (currently Brody's Restaurant on Sheep Street) and a suite of offices above Barclay's Bank on Skipton High Street.

From March 2016, the Council moved back to its spiritual home and now occupies newly refurbished offices on the first floor of Skipton Town Hall, immediately adjacent to the original Council Chamber.

Opening Times

Skipton Town Council's offices are based on the first floor of Skipton Town Hall, High Street, Skipton, BD23 1FD.

Our offices are open for personal visitors from 9am to 5pm Monday to Thursday and from 9am to 1pm on Friday.

Access information:

Access to our reception is via the main staircase at the front entrance of the Town Hall.

Ramped access to the Town Hall is available via the new side entrance on Jerry Croft. A lift is available to our first floor reception and this is located opposite the Tourist Information Centre. The lift is available during office hours and for access to some evening Council meetings.

The Council's main telephone number is (01756) 700553 and our switchboard is open during normal office hours.

If you wish to see a specific member of staff, it is always advisable to call in advance to make an appointment.

If you wish to see a Councillor, you should bear in mind that they are not generally based at our offices. Please refer to the Your Councillors section for contact details.

Council Committees

Skipton Town Council operates a number of Standing Committees which deal with the bulk of the Council's work.

These Committees comprise a group of Members of the Council (normally six or eight Councillors) - and each has a Chairman and Vice-Chairman.

The Committees meet on a regular basis to deal with Council business.

A meeting of the Full Council takes place approximately every two months at which the minutes and resolutions of the various Committees are noted and ratified.

At its Annual Meeting in May 2018, the Council adopted a new Committee structure comprising the following:

Finance & Policy Committee

This Committee sets overall Council policy and looks after its finances. It also deals with matters relating to the Council's procedures, legal obligations, contracts and staffing.

Audit & Scrutiny Committee

This Committee oversees the auditing of the Council's finances and - as part of its scrutiny function - looks at the work of the other Committees and the Council itself.

Public Services Committee

This Committee oversees the management of the Council's estate - including allotments, recreation grounds and play areas.

Planning Committee

This Committee undertakes the duties of the Council in its capacity as a statutory consultee for local planning applications. It meets as required to review substantial or contentious planning applications - and a small Working Group, linked to this Committee, reviews routine applications.

Events & Tourism Committee

This Committee oversees the work of the Council in its role as organiser and facilitator of the Town's events and festivals - together with its broader tourism remit.

Market Committee

This Committee oversees the operation of Skipton Market.

Further details, including the dates of forthcoming meetings and the minutes of previous meetings can be found in the 'Council Meetings' section of the website.

Skipton Town Mayor

The title of Town Mayor is adopted by the Chairman of the Town Council, a position elected each year at the Council's AGM. The Mayor is required, by law, to chair meetings of the Full Council and has a casting vote. There is also a substantial ceremonial role, with the Town Mayor attending a range of civic functions across Skipton during the year of office.

The current Town Mayor is Councillor Alan Hickman

The current Deputy Town Mayor is Councillor Peter Madeley

Inviting The Mayor To A Function

If you would like the Town Mayor to attend an event or function you are organising, you will need to make a formal invitation.

The Mayor's secretary is Wendy Allsopp who works from the Town Council's offices and organises the Mayor's diary. You should contact Wendy in the first instance, and she will be happy to advise on the various protocol involved.

You should send your invitation as early as possible as the Town Mayor's diary does fill up very quickly. In certain instances, the Deputy Mayor may attend where the Mayor is unavailable.

If your event is being held outside of the Parish of Skipton, additional protocols need to be observed - so it is even more important that you notify the Council as early as possible.

Download the application form for inviting the Town Mayor of Skipton to your event:

Mayoral Invite Form

Mayoral Charity

It is traditional for the Mayor to choose a local charity to benefit from any fundraising activities or events held during the civic year.

The current Mayor has selected SELFA as his charity for the current year.

Council Staff

The Council employs a number of permanent staff in its offices at Skipton Town Hall, together with members of the Grounds Maintenance team who operate from the Council's depot at Middletown.

The Council's Management Team comprises the following:

The Council's Chief Officer is Dave Parker. He is the Council's senior officer and acts as the Clerk to the Council and as the Responsible Financial Officer.

Joel Henderson is the Council's Estate Manager with overall responsibility for looking after the Council's assets and property.

Kerry Wheelwright is the Council's Events & Tourism Manager. This role oversees the many events, festivals, marketing and tourism initiatives which take place in the Town each year.

Stefan Bodnarczuk is the Market Manager and looks after the day-to-day operation of Skipton Market.

Samantha Poole is the Council's Finance Manager - with responsibility for overseeing all day-to-day matters relating to the Council's finances.


All members of staff can be contacted via the Council's offices. You should bear in mind that some only work on a part-time basis.

How To Become a Councillor

Except where a by-election is called to fill a Casual Vacancy on the Council, Members are elected once every four years.

The latest elections took place in May 2015 and the next are scheduled for May 2019.

Councillors are unpaid and Skipton Town Council does not pay any allowances to its Councillors, however they undertake a vital role in the community, shaping local policies and helping to improve the Town for its residents.

Being a Councillor will occupy some of your spare time - and there is a legal requirement to attend meetings. It is possible, though, to become a Councillor alongside a full-time job.

If you are interested in becoming a Councillor, you should contact the office for further information. The Council's Chief Officer will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

You do not have to represent any political party, individuals can stand in their own right as independent Members of the Council. If you do wish to represent a political party, you will need to have their approval and should contact them direct.

Press & Public Relations

The Council works closely with local media outlets and is always happy to answer media enquiries, which should be directed to the office in the first instance.

From time to time, the Council will issue Press Releases and Press Statements. Any current items will appear in this section of the website.

Council Services

This section gives details of all the services provided by Skipton Town Council. They are listed alphabetically. You can scroll through the list - or jump straight to a specific service by using the links on the right.

Please remember that other services are provided by Craven District Council and North Yorkshire County Council and you will need to refer to the appropriate Council for details.

Allotments

Skipton Town Council operates three allotment sites within the Parish of Skipton. There are two large sites, at Middletown and Broughton Road, and a smaller site at Burnside Chapel.

Availability of plots varies with demand, and the Council operates a waiting list when sites are full. Plot sizes vary, although the Council is moving towards standardising plots as and when the opportunity arises.

Plot holders are required to sign a tenancy agreement and pay an annual fee.

Download a map showing all Skipton Town Council sites:
Property Assets Map

If you wish to apply for an allotment, you will need to complete an application form. These are available from the Council's offices at Skipton Town Hall - or you can download a form using the link below.

It is usually advisable to contact the Council to check availability.

Once you have completed the form you should return it to the Council.

The Council will then contact you with further information - and arrangements can be made to view any plot which may be offered to you.

Download an Allotment Application Form:
Allotment Application Form

Keeping of Livestock

Allotments regulations allow for the keeping of a small number of hens or rabbits on a plot - but this is strictly controlled by the Council and must be approved in advance.

Current Council policy does NOT allow any other types of livestock for new tenants - or any additional types of livestock for existing tenants.

Additional Information

You may also find the following information useful:

Download a copy of the Council's Allotments Allocation Policy:

Download a Sample Allotment Tenancy Agreement:
Sample Tenancy Agreement

If you already have an allotment, you will need the Council's permission to undertake certain activities - such as erecting a shed or greenhouse, or keeping livestock.

You can download the relevant form below, which must be submitted to the Council for approval before you undertake any work. If you need any further information on any of these matters, please contact the office for assistance.

Download the application form for permission to erect a building on an allotment site (existing tenants only):
Allotment Building Request

Download the application form for permission to keep livestock on an allotment site (existing tenants only):
Allotment Livestock Request

Download the application form for permission to plant trees and/or bushes on an allotment site (existing tenants only):
Allotment Planting Request

Download the notification form relinquishing your allotment plot (existing tenants only):
Allotment Relinquishment Agreement

Download the third party nominee form (existing tenants only):
Allotment Third Party Nominee Form

Cenotaph, War Memorials & Statues

Skipton Town Council owns and manages, on behalf of the Town, the Cenotaph at the top end of Skipton High Street and a smaller war memorial adjacent to the lower entrance to Aireville Park on Gargrave Road.

The Council is also responsible for the statue of Sir Mathew Wilson, located outside Skipton Library on the High Street.

Regular inspections and maintenance take place - and specialist cleaning is undertaken as required, usually every five to ten years.

The Cenotaph and Sir Mathew Wilson Statue were cleaned during the spring of 2014.

Christmas Lights

Skipton Town Council works with the Skipton Business Improvement District (BID) to provide Christmas lighting displays across the Town Centre each year.

The joint funding arrangement provides for comprehensive displays on the High Street, Sheep Street, Otley Street, Newmarket Street, Keighley Road, Swadford Street, Coach Street, Water Street and Mill Bridge.

The displays are refreshed from time-to-time in line with lease agreements - and additional enhancements are usually made each year.

The Town Council manages the various contracts and oversees installation of the lighting and the main Christmas Tree located outside Skipton Town Hall.

Skipton's lights are normally switched on during the last week of November and run until 6th January.

A new Christmas Lights Switch-on event is being planned for 2018.

Churchyards & Closed Burial Grounds

The Town Council, by statute, maintains the churchyards at Holy Trinity Church and Christ Church in Skipton, together with the closed burial ground on Raikes Road.

This work includes the majority of grounds maintenance and grass cutting and the management of any trees, hedges and boundaries.

The Council is also responsible for floodlighting and the maintenance of the clock at Holy Trinity Church.

A community group - the Friends of Raikes Road Burial Ground - oversees an ongoing project to restore and maintain these historic grounds and to make them accessible to the public. A number of events and open days take place each year. Anyone interested in joining the Group should contact the Council for more details.

Civic Events

Skipton Town Council supports and assists with the organisation of many civic events throughout the year, including the annual Remembrance Day Parade and Wreath-Laying Ceremony in November - together with Armistice Day, St George's Day, the Battle of Britain Parade and Armed Forces Day.

Dates for 2018:

Civic Events during the year usually commence with the St George's Day Parade of local Scout groups in April.

A full list of civic events for 2018 will appear here shortly, once dates have been confirmed.

Please contact the office on (01756) 700553 if you require any further information at this stage.

Community Grants

The Council has in the past operated an annual Community Grants Scheme providing financial support to community groups and non profit-making organisations operating within the Parish of Skipton.

As part of the budget setting process, the Council has decided to put the scheme on hold pending future availability of funding.

Further information will appear here if funding becomes available in the future. Until then, unfortunately, the Council is not able to accept any requests for grant funding.

Environment & Planning

Although Craven District Council is the local Planning Authority, Skipton Town Council is a statutory consultee in the planning process - and the Council's Environment & Planning Committee considers and makes recommendations on all planning applications submitted for work within the Parish of Skipton.

All meetings of the Committee are open to the public - and the views and comments of persons present at the meeting will be considered and included in any submission the Town Council makes to the Planning Authority.

Often, for larger or potentially contentious planning applications, the Town Council will advertise a larger public meeting to gather views and opinions.

Any individual or organisation making a substantial planning application, or proposing any significant development within Skipton, may wish to make representations to the Committee in advance of any submission to the Planning Authority.

Please contact the Town Council's offices for more details on (01756) 700553.

NB: Any enquiries about a specific planning applications and its progress, should be directed to the Planning Authority, Craven District Council (CDC). Details of all planning applications can be viewed via the planning portal on the CDC website at: www.cravendc.gov.uk

Events & Festivals

Skipton Town Council plans, supports, organises and funds a range of events and festivals in the Town each year - either in its own right, or in partnership with other local groups and organisations.

The Council also works closely with the Skipton Business Improvement District (BID) to develop plans for new events and to enhance those already taking place.

Our Events Team are always happy to discuss potential new events with local groups or individuals. You should contact the Events & Tourism Manager, Kerry Wheelwright, in the first instance.

Full details of all events within Skipton can be found on the Visit Skipton website: www.visitskipton.co.uk

Application forms are currently available for trading at Skipton Sheep Day, for further information contact us on -
Telephone: 01756 700553



Heap Parkinson Homes

The Council owns, in trust, two blocks of Almshouses on Otley Road in Skipton - comprising 11 units designed for occupancy by local people aged over 55.

Heap Parkinson Homes operates as a charity and is managed separately from the Council - although all 16 Councillors are trustees. A committee of Managing Trustees oversees the running of the homes.

Plans are currently underway for refurbishment of the properties.

Details of any vacancies will be notified here - and the Council does operate a waiting list for anyone interested in future vacancies.

Any queries relating to the Homes should be addressed, in the first instance, to the Clerk to the Trustees at the Town Council's offices.

Marketing & Tourism

As part of its Town Centre Management function, the Council works with partner authorities and organisations to help promote tourism in the Town.

In particular, the Council works with the Skipton Business Improvement District and the Skipton Chamber of Trade & Commerce, having representatives on the executive boards of both these organisations.

The Council produces promotional materials, leaflets and posters and attends a number of tourism industry exhibitions and shows to promote Skipton as a tourist destination to coach operators and group travel organisations - under the Visit Skipton brand.

The Business Improvement District operates to a five-year Business Plan setting out its vision for the Town. The Chamber represents over 100 businesses across Skipton.

Petyt Library

The Council owns (in part with Ermysted's Grammar School) a substantial set of historic books donated to the Town and School by Sylvester Petyt.

The collection is managed by an independent set of Trustees.

The collection is currently in secure storage at the North Yorkshire Archive in Northallerton, pending plans for a new, more accessible home within Skipton.

Part of the collection is currently on loan to the University of York for research purposes.

Public Conveniences

Skipton Town Council operates the Public Toilets at Coach Street Car Park in Skipton, having taken over this responsibility when the facility was threatened with closure.

A £70,000 refurbishment of the toilets took place in 2014.

Following the refurbishment, the Council introduced a small voluntary charge for use of the toilets, which contributes to a fund towards any further upgrades or refurbishment which may be required.. PLEASE NOTE: No cash is left in the toilets overnight.

Skipton Town Council does NOT operate the toilet facilities at Skipton Bus Station, nor is it responsible for the toilets in the main Town Hall Car Park. Any enquiries relating to any public toilets other than Coach Street should be directed to Craven District Council.

Recreation Grounds & Play Areas

The Council maintains a significant number of recreation grounds and play areas across the Parish. Many contain items of play equipment, all of which is regularly inspected to ensure the highest safety standards. Some areas also include 'runs' for the exercising of dogs.

The recreation grounds are:
Bold Venture Recreation Ground
Broughton Road Play Area
Burnside Recreation Ground
Lytham Close Play Area
Middletown Recreation Ground
Millennium Green Play Area
North Parade Recreation Ground
Pasture Close Recreation Ground
Raikes Road Recreation Ground
Shortbank Recreation Ground
The Ginnel Play Area


Three of the recreation grounds (Broughton Road, Burnside, Lytham Close) have recently seen major refurbishment and the installation of new and improved equipment and facilities.

The Environment Agency has recently funded some refurbishment at The Ginnel play area following substantial flood alleviation work to the adjacent beck.

A programme of refurbishment is planned at other sites in the future.

Download a map showing all of the Council's sites:

Property Assets Map

Skipton Business Crime Reduction Partnership

Skipton Town Council is one of the core agencies supporting the new Skipton Business Crime Reduction Partnership (SBCRP) along with North Yorkshire Police, the Skipton Business Improvement District, Shopwatch and Skipton Town Against Nighttime Disorder.

The scheme links shops, hotels, pubs, restaurants and other businesses together via a central monitored radio link to share information about known offenders and suspicious or illegal activity.

Membership is open to all businesses in the Town Centre area.

The Council's Town Centre Ambassadors participate in the scheme, undertaking a co-ordinating role and encouraging both new businesses to join the scheme and existing members to fully utilise the available resources.

The scheme has had a significant number of successes in foiling and preventing illegal activities and shoplifting.

Skipton Market

Skipton Town Council is responsible for the management of Skipton Market - operating under a lease from Skipton Castle, who own the rights to hold the Market under a Charter granted in 1204 by King John.

The Market is held every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday - and takes place on the stone 'setts' along both sides of Skipton's historic and award-winning High Street.

Since taking control as Market Authority in 2012, Skipton Town Council has invested significantly in the promotion of the Market, and has completed a number of agreements with landowners to simplify the operation of the Market and to facilitate new traders.

Skipton Market was named as the Best Small Outdoor Market at the Great British Market Awards in 2017.

In 2018 the Market reached the final six in a public vote for Britain's Favourite Market.

Skipton's Christmas Market was named as the Best Large Speciality Market in the 2018 Great British Market Awards.

Trading on the Market

The Council is always interested to hear from prospective traders and applications to trade on the Market are always welcomed.

If you are interested in becoming a trader you should contact the Market Manager, Stefan Bodnarczuk, on (01756) 700553.

Applications are considered on a first-come, first-served basis and the Council operates a waiting list when the Market is fully subscribed either overall or in terms of specific trading lines.

Street Lighting & Street Furniture

Skipton Town Council is responsible for the maintenance of a substantial number of discretionary street lights (generally away from main highways), together with other items of street furniture such as public seating, litter bins and dog waste bins.

All are inspected and maintained on a regular basis. A contract is in place for the regular emptying of litter bins and dog waste bins.

It should be noted that some litter and dog waste bins are the responsibility of other authorities such as Craven District Council or, in areas along the canal towpaths, the Canal & River Trust.

Public seating is provided in many areas of the Town - and some seating includes commemorative plaques. If you have any queries concerning plaques - or the provision of additional seats as a memorial to a loved one - you should contact the Council's Estates Manager, Les Chandler on (01756) 700553.

Support to Community & Voluntary Groups

The Council acts as the administrative support to a number of local community and voluntary groups.

These include:
Skipton In Bloom
Friends of the Wilderness
Friends of Raikes Road Burial Ground


Most of these groups operate under a separate 'constitution' and determine their own priorities and workload, supported by the Council. The groups will generally always welcome new members.

Councillors and Council Officers also support many other community groups by attending their regular meetings and providing ad-hoc assistance.

Tarn Moor Estate

The Tarn Moor Estate is a separate charity holding a substantial amount of land on the outskirts of Skipton which is held in trust for the benefit of the Community.

Skipton Town Council, as an entity, acts as the 'Custodian Trustee' for the land. This means that it owns the title to all of the land, but holds it in trust for the Charity.

In practice, the Council has no control over the day-to-day management of the estate. This is undertaken by a group of five Managing Trustees of which the Council nominates two.

The nominated trustees serve in their own right as trustees and are not direct representatives of the Council.

The trustees currently nominated by the Council are: Cllr Robert G Heseltine and Cllr Paul Whitaker

Any queries relating to the management of the Estate should be directed to:
Jane Markham
Clerk to the Trustees

email: tarnmoorclerk@gmail.com

or: c/o Dacre, Son and Hartley
The Estate Office, Station Road, Otley, West Yorkshire LS21 3DR


Town Centre Ambassadors

Together with the Skipton Business Improvement District (BID), Skipton Town Council operates a Town Centre Ambassador scheme across the Town Centre.

In effect, this is a mobile tourist information service providing help, advice and directions to members of the public visiting the Town Centre.

The Ambassadors also keep a check on the local environment, looking out for litter, dog fouling, graffiti, fly-posting and other anti-social activities - liaising with the appropriate agency to help resolve the issue.

The Ambassadors are also an important part of the Skipton Business Crime Reduction Partnership, keeping an eye on the Town Centre and linked to the main scheme by radio.

As well as our paid supervisor roles, the Council has a number of volunteer ambassadors - and is always interested to hear from anyone who may wish to volunteer for the scheme. There is no minimum requirement, hours can be arranged to suit personal circumstances and availability. Training, equipment and protective clothing are provided to successful applicants.

If you are interested in becoming a Volunteer Ambassador, you should complete a Volunteer Application Form and return it to the Council


Download a copy of the Volunteer Application Form:

Volunteer Application Form


Town Centre Management

The role of the Town Centre Management Team has grown in the last few years, reflecting changes in legislation, policing policies for non-civic events - and in the number and complexity of events and festivals taking place in the Town.

The Council employs an Events & Tourism Manager, Kerry Wheelwright, to oversee this element of the Council's work, which involves developing close working relationships with our partners in other local authorities, emergency services, community groups and, in particular, the Skipton Business Improvement District.

Town Twinning

Skipton is twinned with two European towns:

Simbach-Am-Inn
Located in Bavaria on the Germany/Austria border, Skipton has been twinned with Simbach for over thirty years - and very strong links exist between the two towns, including well-supported Twinning Associations in both Skipton and Simbach.

Erquinghem-Lys
Located in the north of France, close to Lille, Erquinghem-Lys has very close associations with the former Duke of Wellington's Regiment (now the Yorkshire Regiment) and the two towns twinned in 2009.

Trees

The Council is responsible for the upkeep of all trees and hedges across its land but, in particular, is responsible for the trees lining Skipton High Street.

These native lime trees were planted in 1897 to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria.

The trees are protected meaning that if they are damaged or die, they must be replaced. A number of the trees have been replaced in recent years - and this programme of replacement will continue as required.

Urban Grass Cutting

In April 2015, as part of cutbacks in its budgets, North Yorkshire County Council ceased all amenity grass cutting in urban areas across the county.

Skipton Town Council now undertakes all of this work within Skipton, to ensure that all areas of amenity grass within the Town continue to be cut. Generally, grass is cut on a regular basis through the season (from around March to September/October).

The Council has done its best to ensure that all areas of grass previously cut continue to be cut as part of the revised arrangements. However it is possible that, given the quantity of individual locations which need to be serviced, an occasional site will not have been included in the contract specification - or may have been missed.. If you identify a site which has not been cut, but you think should be, please contact us.

Please note that amenity grass is cut on a 'cut and drop' basis. This means that the grass cuttings are not taken away. This is normal practice and does not normally cause any problems. The additional cost of taking away grass cuttings is prohibitive and is not generally considered as being effective in the longer term.