Knaresborough group's plea over cliff: Build a lift to boost visitors

Coun Bill Rigby and Shan Oakes. (1701201AM3)
Coun Bill Rigby and Shan Oakes. (1701201AM3)

One of Knaresborough’s most important community groups is bidding to recruit new officers to strengthen its efforts to bring vital improvements to the town.

Next week’s annual general meeting of Renaissance Knaresborough at Knaresborough House at 7pm is designed to attract nominations for all the key posts, including chair, treasurer and secretary.

But it is also hoping the new team will take the chance to give renewed priority to the loftiest items on the group’s wish list, especially the issue of a new ‘cliff lift’ to enable visitors and local residents to move more easily from the Waterside up to Knaresborough Castle.

Renaissance Knaresborough’s acting chair Shan Oakes said: “Our main goals are to provide a forum to initiate the big projects which the town wants to see - and a kind of ‘umbrella’ for community projects to shelter under in terms of an entity which can provide the structure of a constitution and insurance.”

The group can point to a lengthy record of wide-ranging action since it was first launched in 2004.

That list includes the Waterside viewpoint, Waterside resurfacing, interpretation panels at the viaduct, The Knaresborough Trompe L’oeil, supporting a ground-breaking performance of Wind in the Willows, Nidderdale Drive play area, High Bridge garden and more.

Shan Oakes said, as well as seeking to recruit new officers, the aim of the relaunch at next Tuesday night’s AGM was to facilitate big projects such as a community renewable energy project, the revival of the water carnival and, of course, the long-awaited ‘cliff lift’.

Knaresborough councillor Bill Rigby, who was the town’s first Green mayor, believes the ‘cliff lift’ could make a huge difference to the town.

He said: “People are deterred at the moment from moving between Waterside and the Castle because of the steps, which are very steep. Other places like Saltburn and Scarborough have lifts and Knaresborough has a crying need for one.

"Last year during FEVA we surveyed over 400 people on one Sunday, and only a handful were opposed to the idea."

Whatever happens, there are exciting times ahead for the new team.

If you are interested in getting involved in Renaissance Knaresborough, email