A SCHEME is underway to restore Otley's Victorian street signs.

The town has numerous historic, cast iron signs dotted around but some are in such poor condition they are barely legible.

Otley Conservation Task Force noticed the problem several years ago and has now teamed up with Otley Town Partnership to address it.

The groups, supported by contributions from Otley Town Council and Otley BID plus private donations, have employed Ilkley business Blast Coat Signs to carry out the restoration work.

Some signs have already been fixed, cleaned and reinstalled but more funding is needed to get all of them done: and Otley's residents and businesses are being invited to lend a hand.

Peter Heald MBE, from Otley Town Partnership, said: "Two of the Otley Conservation Task Force sit on the partnership's Environment group and they've been talking about getting these signs restored for some while.

"We think there are about 30 Victorian street signs altogether around the town.

"Quite a few of them are rusted, hard to read and, without attention, could end up falling off and then the danger is that they'll disappear.

"So we've found someone who will take them away, sandblast them, treat them, repaint them and then put them back for a cost of about £100 each.

"The partnership, town council and Otley BID are all chipping in to cover the costs along with some local businesses who have signs near them.

"We've done some already, focusing on those on the most visible routes first, and have got enough funding to do about 15 - so about half.

"It would be good to see if people who live on some of the relevant streets might also want to contribute to bring in the rest of the funding."

A spokesman for Otley Conservation Task Force added: "We have been campaigning to restore the Victorian cast iron street signs as many of them had become illegible due to heavy rusting.

"It should be remembered that street signs play an important role guiding visitors and emergency services in our towns and cities. Many of the signs were probably cast here in Otley in foundries that closed years ago. These signs are an enduring legacy.

"The contractor, Roger Batters of Blast Coat Signs, is carrying out a rolling programme of renovation which is being funded by private donations and local businesses.

"The signs are removed and taken back to his workshop where the accumulated layers of paint and rust are removed, which reveals the sharpness of the original lettering. Some house owners have been so delighted at seeing their restored street signs they have made a contribution towards this worthwhile project.

"Once restored these Victorian cast iron street signs will probably last a good deal longer than modern plastic versions, which need frequent maintenance and replacement."

Anyone who would like to support the scheme should send an e-mail to p.heald@ntlworld.com .