Pledges needed to secure cross-county bus route for Nidderdale as deadline looms

Theroute would be operationalfor two years if the fund-raising push is successful
Theroute would be operationalfor two years if the fund-raising push is successful

An urgent appeal for cash pledges to open up the countryside and boost the district economy with a new summer bus service has been made.

The Nidderdale Chamber of Trade is calling on residents and businesses to help 'buck the national trend' by helping raise the remaining £2,500 needed for a new Sunday and Bank holiday route, running from West Yorkshire to Pateley Bridge, as the deadline looms for Monday, March 5.

If the target can be hit the Dales & Bowland Community Interest Company aiming to launch in May.

Chairman of the Chamber of Trade, Keith Tordoff, said that while bolstering the connection between urban areas and the Dales it would be 'phenomenal' to see a new service after the successful push to keep the number 24 bus running during the winter months.

He said: "It's clear that businesses, pubs and cafes all would benefit from the visitors coming to the area if this happens. It could see Nidderdale bucking the national trend, we already have one bus service potentially coming and not being cut, it would be a real shame for us not to achieve this because of £2,500.

"It would be phenomenal if we are able to do this after having saved a Sunday service."

He added: "If we are successful we are in effect coming up with a new model for securing bus services by coming to the community with these ideas and asking them to support it.

"However we need pledges from people to do this, if successful it will help all of Nidderdale and open up the countryside. This might be for people who are no longer able to drive, or by encouraging visitors from West Yorkshire to visit the area."

The Nidderdale Rambler service could connect Keighley, Bingley and Shipley in the urban Aire Valley to the Washburn valley via Otley. The service would then continue on to Pateley Bridge and continuing on to Upper Nidderdale.

It is one of three routes proposed by Dales & Bowland to bolster existing bus connections, with other lines between York and Grassington, and from Harrogate to Fountains Abbey.

While £2,500 has already been raised £5,000 is needed in total for the route to be established by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency.

Pledges have been given by the Birswith Parish Council for £1,000, while another £1,000 was committed through North Yorkshire County Council's Locality Fund by Coun Stan Lumley.

Businesses have also donated funds towards the plans, with £100 pledged by both Kendall's Farm Butchers and the Oldest Sweetshop, alongside £200 from the Royal Oak Inn.