North Yorkshire highways boss 'confident' council will win most of £1.5m bid for active travel projects

The highways boss of North Yorkshire County Council has expressed confidence that the authority will win most of the £1.5m it is bidding for under the latest round of active travel projects.

Thursday, 29th July 2021, 12:58 pm
Updated Thursday, 29th July 2021, 1:40 pm
Councillor Don Mackenzie, executive member for access at North Yorkshire County Council.

Councillor Don Mackenzie executive member for access, approved the bid at a meeting on Friday for projects including traffic calming measures in Ripon and improvements to a 3km stretch of towpath between the villages of Kildwick and Silsden in south Craven.

If successful, some of the cash will also be used for feasibility work to look into building a 7km cycleway and footpath between Knaresborough and Flaxby Green Park, as well as similar plans for a shorter cycleway between Helmsley and Kirkbymoorside.

The bid is being made to the third round of the government's active travel fund and comes after the council only managed to secure half of the £266,000 it was being offered during the first stage.

Councillor Mackenzie said "lessons have been learnt" since then and that he was confident the council would follow suit of the second round when it won almost all of the £1m it bid for.

He said: "We have been told to expect roughly around the same amount we received in tranche two and as soon as we know what this value is our bid will be submitted with the government.

"Clearly there are various sources of money for these kinds of projects in the future. The government has set aside £2bn as part of its active travel fund and I believe it has only allocated around a quarter of this so there will be plenty more to come."

Under the latest plans, around £550,000 would be spent on the development of "sustainable travel corridors" in the west of Ripon. These could include footway widening, better crossing facilities and traffic calming measures.

The council also said feasibility work for the 7km cyclepath between Knaresborough and Flaxby Green Park would cost £50,000 and that it would link with wider plans to improve connections to York.

The plans for the towpath between Kildwick to Silsden include a better connection from Cross Hills to Priest Bank Road, the widening of a pedestrian underpass and ramped access to Cononley Lane End.

The £900,000 costs would cover works along a 2km stretch of the towpath which sits within North Yorkshire, with further funding to be provided for the other 1km which sits within West Yorkshire.

The cyclepath between Helmsley and Kirkbymoorside would run alongside the A170, with the feasibility work costing around £50,000.

Under earlier rounds of the fund, cash has been earmarked for cycle lanes and junction upgrades on the A59 between Harrogate and Knaresborough, as well as similar improvements in the Victoria Avenue area of Harrogate town centre.

There were also plans for a one-way traffic system and junction filters on Oatlands Drive but these were scrapped after a fierce backlash from residents.

Instead, the council is carrying out a feasibility study this summer to look into what other improvements could be made not just on Oatlands Drive but also the surrounding area.

The aim for the A59 and Victoria Avenue schemes is for construction to start in November with completion in March 2022.

Meanwhile, a government decision on the third round bid is expected in autumn and, if successful, the funds must be spent before March 2023.

By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter