Creating Space for Jobs in Skipton

The next steps have been taken to help generate more jobs in Skipton – the gateway to the Yorkshire Dales and a highly inspiring place to do business.

The Environment Agency is due to start work on the next phase of a £13m flood alleviation scheme which will help protect the town from flooding, and working with ourselves and others, unlock much needed land for development.

A consultation by Craven District Council revealed that the current lack of employment land is constraining the growth aspirations of local businesses and the land, on the South Skipton Employment site, will mean the town can meet its employment needs.

Balanced against the importance of maintaining the high quality environment, the project will help the wider development of the site including new housing and highway improvements.

It is estimated that the 24.5 hectares of land can accommodate around 200 houses, and includes 18.6 hectares of land for employment purposes. The employment land, which will require around £24.2 million of private investment to develop, will enable the creation of 24,898 sq metres of commercial office space and up to 1,155 jobs. It includes 8.05 hectares of floodplain that will be made available once the defences are in place.

Funding for the scheme includes £1.2m from the Government’s Local Growth Deal and part of our 2014 bid to achieve growth for our region.

David Dickson, Board member and Chair of our Infrastructure Board said: “Delivery of the Skipton Flood Alleviation Scheme not only protects the town’s existing businesses and infrastructure from flooding, it also provides stability for its future growth. Responding to aspirations from the town’s businesses, the scheme unlocks land that will create more employment prospects in this highly important area.”

David Smurthwaite, Craven District Council’s Strategic Manager, said: “New employment land is much needed in Skipton and the Flood Alleviation Scheme will help deliver this, as well as protecting existing businesses and residents from flooding.

“This scheme will help keep jobs in the area, allowing existing businesses to develop and grow and attracting new employers to the district – vital for the vibrancy and sustainability of Craven.”

Two flood storage reservoirs will be built to hold back water from surrounding hills during periods of heavy or sustained rainfall, thereby slowing the flow through the town and reducing the risk of flooding.  The scheme also includes improvements to river channels in the town centre and raising the height of some existing river walls to reduce the risk of overtopping.  In total it is estimated the scheme will help protect over 500 of the town’s existing businesses and residential properties.

The scheme will protect Skipton’s transport infrastructure including the main highway and rail links including the Leeds to Carlisle railway line – a major emergency diversionary route to the north if the East Coast Main Line is closed.

It is hoped that, weather permitting, the entire scheme will be completed by early 2017.