Plans for Knaresborough cliff lift ‘far from forgotten’
Feb 8, 2022
Knaresborough Castle

A Knaresborough not-for-profit organisation has said plans for a cliff lift in the town remain active — but devolution is delaying the process.

Renaissance Knaresborough is behind moves to create a lift linking Waterside and the town centre.

In a press release issued this week, it said plans have been in existence since 2005 but multiple obstacles have meant it is yet to come to fruition.

The organisation, which aims to support schemes that make the town better, said Knaresborough Castle and its grounds are owned by the Duchy of Lancaster but managed by Harrogate Borough Council under long-term lease.

It said the council supports the project but because the lease only has 11 years remaining the Duchy is reluctant to move forward until North Yorkshire devolution, which will see the council abolished, is finalised.

The press release said:

“The challenge is in renegotiating a long-term lease in the backdrop of the regional move to a unitary authority.

“Whilst there remains support from the council, we understand that there is an understandable hesitancy from the Duchy to renegotiate lease terms when a unitary authority transition has yet to be finalised.”

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Last week the Stray Ferret published an article about proposals for a Knaresborough land train to help tourists travel up the hill from Waterside. This would serve a similar purpose to the cliff lift but could probably be delivered sooner.

According to Renaissance Knaresborough, an independent tourism consultant found the scheme to be a viable prospect in 2019 and that “it is no longer a question of if, but when”.

The project has since received interest from private sector investors but no ownership structure has been identified, according to Renaissance Knaresborough.

Renaissance Knaresborough member Shan Oakes said:

“We feel that the cliff lift is a no-brainer, it’s desperately needed as part of a revival of the whole area.

“Knaresborough has been neglected for far too long. You watch people really struggle getting up that hill and those steps and its an access issue too.”