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8 December, 2023

Community Fund lights up the way in Skipton

(From left to right) Katie Birks, Elaine Hiser, Fiona Protheroe, Will Hiser-Dobson, Isla Hiser Dobson and Richard Dobson in Skipton’s Aireville Park, where new lighting has been introduced. Also pictured are their four-legged friends Tiree and Coll (far right).
Commissioner Zoë's Community Fund lights up Aireville Park in Skipton to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists during the winter months and darker evenings

New lights have been introduced in Aireville Park in Skipton to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists during the winter months and darker evenings.

The lights, which are controlled by a timer, line the main path through the 20-acre park off Gargrave Road. They have been installed to make the area more accessible and safer at night.

The new lighting has been funded through a successful £9,000 grant application by the Friends of Aireville Park (FoAP) to the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner of North Yorkshire, Zoë Metcalfe. This is the final project for members of the FoAP after 10 years of fundraising, advocating and shaping the developments in the park.

North Yorkshire Council’s executive member for highways and transportation, Cllr Keane Duncan, said:

“It’s great to see Aireville Park well-lit, making the area safer for park users.

“Aireville Park is popular with locals and people who travel from far and wide to access the recently redeveloped playground, skate park, pump track and of course, the adjacent Craven Leisure. The green space has improved considerably over the last five years and I am glad more and more people will now feel safe accessing it during the darker evenings.”

Combined with funding obtained from Yorkshire property developers Rushbond, the lights on the path to the exits for both Gargrave Road and Granville Street have been welcomed by the community.

Skipton student, Imogen Ross, aged 17, regularly accesses the park after school and says:

“I love the new lights. I feel so much safer going to Craven Leisure Centre in the evenings now.”

North Yorkshire Council’s executive member for culture, arts and housing, Cllr Simon Myers, who frequently uses the park, thanked members of FoAP for their hard work in obtaining the funding and said he was pleased that avenues had been explored to make the green space more welcoming for all ages.

The former chair of FoAP, Fiona Protheroe, added:

“We’re so pleased to have supported the Aireville Park lights project. We were aware how many people felt unsafe going through the park in the dark, and this put them off walking to school, to the gym and to the train station in winter months. We wanted to enable people – especially women – to keep using the park all year round.”

A former committee member of the group, Katie Birks, said installing the lights had proved to be a “wonderful example” of the council’s staff engaging with a local community group to “achieve something that benefits everyone”, she added:

“We’re very grateful to the funding from the PCC that helped make the project happen.”

Commissioner Zoë  said:

“I am really delighted to be able to support this project with my Community Fund.

“Creating environments where people feel safe is one of my top priorities.

“These new lights along the path and to the new housing estate to the east of the park will mean that the route is used more frequently and help people to be safe and feel safe.”

(From left to right) Katie Birks, Elaine Hiser, Fiona Protheroe, Will Hiser-Dobson, Isla Hiser Dobson and Richard Dobson in Skipton’s Aireville Park, where new lighting has been introduced. Also pictured are their four-legged friends Tiree and Coll (far right).

Image: (From left to right) Katie Birks, Elaine Hiser, Fiona Protheroe, Will Hiser-Dobson, Isla Hiser Dobson and Richard Dobson in Skipton’s Aireville Park, where new lighting has been introduced. Also pictured are their four-legged friends Tiree and Coll (far right).