A MULTI-million-pound bid is being drawn up to tackle congestion blackspots in Harrogate town centre.
North Yorkshire County Council has submitted outline proposals to the Government to secure £10m in funding for green transport schemes for the town and also Whitby on the east coast.
If the bid is successful, money would be shared between the two projects with the Harrogate Sustainable Transport Package featuring a park and ride site along with a range of sustainable transport initiatives to improve bus and rail services and encourage cycling.
The improvements would be paid for under the Government’s Local Sustainable Transport Plan (LSTP) which is making £560m in funding available nationally up to the financial year 2014/15.
Coun Gareth Dadd, executive member for highways, said: “This is the first step in the process. We now need to develop the packages in more detail before submitting the final bid to the Department for Transport.”
Harrogate relies heavily on its conference industry but the town has faced criticism from event organisers over its rail and road links.
The package being drawn up for the town seeks to tackle traffic tailbacks but an exact location for the park and ride site has yet to be finalised.
The county council will submit its final detailed bid to the Department for Transport in February next year.
Coun Dadd said: “If the bids are successful – and only if they are successful – we will start to deliver the proposals later in 2012 with the packages being completed by March 2015.
“Unfortunately if the bids are not successful the county council does not have other funding available to deliver them, especially the park and ride sites (in Harrogate and Whitby), though we will continue to look for funding wherever possible.”
The council has already had to shelve major transport projects as it battles to slash its budgets by £69m and highways chiefs at county hall maintain the two bids for Harrogate and Whitby represent the best chance of attracting extra funding while budgets remain under intense pressure.
Senior officials have confirmed current highways budgets are being focused on road maintenance, including repairs to potholes caused by the last two severe winters.
A decision on the county council’s funding bid will be made in May next year.