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Growing civic pride in Otley

Otley Town Enhancement Study

The "Otley Town Enhancement Study" is an Otley in Bloom project which began when we identified many areas of the town where improvements could be made. It was decided that the way forward would be to devise an action plan where we could list everything we wanted to do and prioritise the proposed projects.

This idea was developed further and in 2003 we produced a substantial document titled "50 Ways To Green Our Town". This document contained details of all the projects the group would like to tackle. Projects ranged from improving the car parking areas of Otley, removing huge advertising hoardings from certain areas to creating a community orchard for everyone to use.

We contacted Leeds City Council about the document and ideas and were invited to submit a copy of our proposals to their planning department for consideration. After having these approved the next step was to advertise the document and plans in the local libray and media. We also invited the local community to a public meeting so that they could be included and have their say in how we could make progress with the project.

At the meeting we displayed a brief description of each of the proposed projects. We had a wonderful turnout where over seventy people ranked the projects in order of preference and put forward any other projects that they wanted to see done. When the meeting was over we then collated the responses and have been able to group and prioritise the projects according to the interest shown by the people of Otley.

From these responses we created a "Framework for Action" document, which we submitted to Leeds City Council and The Market Towns Initiative. The MTI then agreed to provide funding for some consultants to provide designs for the areas that have been identified as needing work. As a group we gave over 500 hours of voluntary time before we were ready to call on the Consultants to do their work.

The Consultants then made a survey of the town, considered the viable improvements that were possible, and then provided us with an 80 page document titled "The Otley Town Enhancement Study" which contained design ideas and detailed costings for the following main projects:

  • - Town Gateways 
  • - Main road corridors
  • - Public Parks 
  • - Car Parks 
  • - Street Furniture 
  • - Railway Trail 
  • - Hoardings Removal 
  • - Market Place

Update on Town Enhancement Study in early 2010

Five years on, some of the projects have been undertaken and completed by townsfolk and other volunteer groups such as the Street Scene Guide produced by Otley Town Partnership to guide and inform choices of street furniture in the town, and great work done to improve access and paths on the Railway Trail by volunteers.

Some of the projects were started but had to be put on hold due to the complications of working on private land such as our plan to get the hoardings around the town removed and reclaim those green spaces. However we have had some success with the hoardings contacting the landowners who have made an effort to tidy the sites especially around the time of Yorkshire in Bloom judging.

One of our major sucesses from the project was the Gateways to the town. These are running full steam ahead with 3 gateways completed and the rest being planned for the next couple of years. We have also managed to complete tree planting aspects of the study plans along the length of Bradford Road.

A copy of the full document is available for inspection in the Otley Public Library. Alternatively please contact us.

For more details about the current projects we're working on please see the Projects page.