A project to improve the riverside in the historic heart of Stokesley has been given the seal of approval by Rishi.
Rishi planted a commemorative tree to mark the completion of work on the banks of the River Leven where it flows through the centre of the market town.
The work to Levenside involved creating a wheelchair-accessible footpath, replacing the bankside fencing and installing interpretation panels highlighting the heritage features of the area, including the Grade-II-listed packhorse bridge.
The Richmond (Yorks) MP said the work completed a long-running effort to improve the environment of the riverside, turning what was a backwater into a beautiful townscape asset.
He added: “This superb project is the culmination of many years’ work to make the best of the Stokesley riverside. The Government recently invested £3.7m in upgrading the town’s flood defences and an added bonus of that work was improving the flow of the River Leven through the town to benefit biodiversity.
“The work completed under this project is the finishing touches to make Levenside more accessible and attractive for residents and visitors.”
The cost of £300,000 was met by grants from the former Hambleton District and North Yorkshire County Councils, contributions from local housing developers (Section 106 agreements and Community Infrastructure Levy) and the Stokesley Manorial Lands Trust.
Cllr Andy Wake, Chair of the Manorial Lands Trust, said: “It was wonderful to have Rishi here to see what has been achieved by so many people and organisations in the Stokesley community. It has a been tremendous collective effort.
“The old riverside path had become quite dangerous. We are very proud of what the community has achieved.”
The project was led by the Stokesley Manorial Lands Trust, which owns the riverside land, with the assistance of The Stokesley Society. The Society and local firm Catch Designs were responsible for the interpretation panels. Stokesley Pride in our Town Association provided the commemorative tree.