A new fair is coming to Ripon as part of an ongoing drive to regenerate the area by the canal

The organiser of the Spring fair, Richard Willis.
The organiser of the Spring fair, Richard Willis.

A spring fair is taking place in Ripon as part of an ongoing drive to regenerate the area by the canal.

The charity event will be held on May 19 from 11am to 3pm, and will include stalls and entertainment to raise money for Britain in Bloom and Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

Richard Willis, who runs Ripon Scenic Cruises, hopes that the day will breathe some life into the waterside and encourage more people to spend time there.

He said: “I was involved in the restoration of the canal in 1996, I was secretary of the canal society for 14 years, so this is something very close to my heart. The area has a lot of potential and it would be lovely for more people to see that.”

Mr Willis is calling for more to be done to develop the stretch along the canal to make it a more attractive place for visitors.

He said: “It has not been turned into the destination it should be in terms of Ripon’s tourist draw.

“It could really become part of the tourist offer we have got. People travel and come down to the canal for a boat ride but there’s nothing to hold them here.

“Other towns have guided walks that help to bring in visitors and Ripon needs to move forwards. It is not enough to just keep doing the same thing, we need to do something new and I think the waterside is the right place for that.”

He is also calling for more toilets in the area to make it more accessible and wants developers to consider Ripon as a place to create more B&Bs in order to generate more tourism.

Mr Willis added: “There is very limited accommodation for people here. Most of the people who come for a ride on the boat say they are staying in Harrogate or Thirsk and just visiting for the day because there are not enough options for them to stay here.

“I think that’s something that really needs to change.”