Knaresborough and Ripon active travel plans shelved after funding bid failure

Plans for a 7km cycleway in Knaresborough and other active travel improvements in Ripon have been shelved after a bid for government funding failed.

By Jacob Webster
Friday, 17th June 2022, 3:27 pm
Updated Friday, 17th June 2022, 3:30 pm
North Yorkshire County Council said there will be "no progress" with two active travel projects in Knaresborough and Ripon after the authority failed to secure funding.
North Yorkshire County Council said there will be "no progress" with two active travel projects in Knaresborough and Ripon after the authority failed to secure funding.

North Yorkshire County Council applied for £1.5 million - but did not receive any money from round three of the government's active travel fund.

The council said in a statement that "there will be no progress with either project at present" following an announcement of funding allocations to councils across England last month.

If successful, £50,000 would have funded feasibility work for a segregated cycleway and footpath between Knaresborough and Flaxby Green Park.

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In Ripon, around £550,000 would have been spent on the development of "sustainable travel corridors" in the west of the city. This could have included widened footpaths, better pedestrian crossings and traffic calming measures.

Also included in the £1.5 million bid was proposals for other schemes in Selby, Ryedale and Craven which have not received any funding.

Separately, the council has announced final designs for cycling and walking improvements on Harrogate's Victoria Avenue and the A59 near Knaresborough are "likely" to be revealed this summer as part of a consultation.

This comes after more than £1 million was awarded to the council which had hoped to start construction works by now.

The proposals include cycle lanes, improved crossings and reducing the A59 speed limit from 50mph to 40mph.

The council said in a statement: "Designs are currently being finalised and costed. A public consultation will need to take place before any contract is awarded.

"This is likely to happen over the summer but dates have not yet been confirmed."

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Kevin Douglas, chair of Harrogate District Cycle Action, said he was disappointed that the Ripon and Knaresborough schemes failed to secure funding and that he believed the government's decision partly came down to the council's record on getting projects done.

"Their track record on delivering schemes that have got funding isn't good," Mr Douglas said.

"It is unusual not to get any funding, but you can see why when the council has schemes that are outstanding.

"The Knaresborough scheme hasn't been delivered, Victoria Avenue hasn't been delivered, the Otley Road cycle path hasn't been delivered, as well as the plans for Oatlands Drive - they are all a way off."

The Oatlands Drive plans originally included a one-way traffic system, but this was scrapped last year after a backlash from residents who warned the changes would be "disastrous".

It was then agreed that government funding would be used for a feasibility study looking into improvements for the wider area.

However, the council has yet to go out to consultation and the new proposals won't be ready until at least autumn - more than a year-and-a-half after the original plans were abandoned.

A council statement last month said the consultation is "still being finalised" and was "likely to start soon after" the Queen's Platinum Jubilee bank holiday weekend.

The statement also said the new proposals will be made public at the end of the study, "which will be in the autumn".

Meanwhile, it was also revealed this week that a third round of consultations will be held on the £10.9 million Harrogate Gateway project after further traffic concerns were raised.

It means a final business case for the scheme has yet to be submitted and construction works could now be delayed until at least winter.

By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter