OWNERS of a canal boat company are hoping council chiefs give them the green light for a tipi activity centre for young people as well as a wedding venue.

Agent Rural Futures North West has submitted an application on behalf of John and Lesley Yates who own Canal Boat Cruises at Riley Green.

Lesley admits their business has had to ‘diversify’ after the exceptionally dry summer of 2018.

She said: “We are so excited about this venture and hopefully the council will look at as we do.

“When the canal closed last summer it had a significant impact on our business with loss of revenue and profits.

“We had always had the tipi so we had to think that from the canal boat side of things it was going toward day or half day cruises.

“There has been an indication from local schools and charities such as Derian House children's hospice that we could provide days out and provide an educational services and teamwork with canoeing and raft building.

“Derian House came to visit us and they were impressed with the facility and that we can offer things for disabled people.

“It is something different to what is on offer in the area and for the people of Lancashire.”

The proposed project developed from a family event as their daughter Bridie Yates was getting married on the site in a purpose built tipi. The site is located 400m to the north of junction three of the M65 and is accessed off Bolton Road.

Canal Boat Cruises started trading in July 2006 offering traditional narrow boat holidays on the Leeds Liverpool Canal.

Lesley said: “We want to have schools and charities during the week and then at weekends we want it to become a wedding venue which is quite unique.

“We employ local people and get our food locally too so it would be a shame if we could not provide it.”

The business is looking to put together packages to appeal to people of all ages.

It employs six full-time and four part-time staff including John and Lesley.