The North Yorkshire County Council transport column with Don Mackenzie: 11 towns benefit from Active Travel Fund

Emergency Active Travel Fund

Wednesday, 22nd July 2020, 11:50 am
Otley Road cycle paths were approved in principle.

Emergency Active Travel Fund

North Yorkshire County Council’s Tranche 1 bid to the Department for Transport’s Emergency Active Travel Fund resulted in an award for £133,000, which is 50% of the full amount applied for.

The council will make up the value to the full £266,000 from its own reserves. This initial bid was targeted at measures to encourage walking and cycling whilst there is reduced capacity on trains and buses. Eleven towns throughout the county benefit from these measures, including Harrogate, Knaresborough and Ripon.

Most of these involve the coning off parts of roads for use by pedestrians, and the creation of a pop-up cycle lane on Beech Grove, Harrogate.

Also included are additional cycle parking facilities in popular locations.

A second bid is currently being prepared and is likely to focus on cycling schemes. The value of this bid is up to £1.065m. Following a request to the public for suggestions, a total of 35 cycling schemes for various parts of the county have been put forward for consideration, in addition to those identified in Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans. Cycling and walking groups have been asked to list their preferences in order of priority.

DfT guidance indicates the following criteria will be applied to each scheme in the bid: Can it be delivered quickly? Does it replace a well-used bus route? Does it re-allocate road space? Does it cater for cycling and walking? The deadline for submission of this second bid is Friday, August 7.

In the meantime, highways officers have met with counterparts at HBC, with the Harrogate BID, and with pub, cafe and restaurant owners to agree footpath widening measures at several locations in Harrogate town centre to give more space for customers to be served outside.

Separately from the Active Travel bids, NYCC highways officers have drawn up plans for further cycling schemes for the Harrogate area.

These can be quickly progressed as soon as funding is secured, and are located as follows: Beech Grove, Oatlands Drive, Victoria Avenue and the A59 between Knaresborough and Bilton Hall Drive.

Otley Road Cycle Path – Stray land exchange

The Cabinet of Harrogate Borough Council took a decision last week, which I welcome – namely, to approve in principle the exchange of land which will allow the long-planned off-road cycle paths on both sides of Otley Road to proceed.

This swap to replace land taken by the cycle paths involves an area of 645sq.m near to Harrogate Hospital at the eastern end of the Stray. This process will require an amendment to bye-laws covering the use of the Stray verges, which will be subject to public consultation, as will the land exchange itself.

The first phase of construction between Harlow Moor Road and Arthur’s Avenue does not involve Stray land and can commence very soon.

The second phase eastwards as far as Beech Grove will have to wait for the 12-week consultation to be concluded, for reports to go back to the HBC Cabinet and General Purposes committee, and, once those stages have concluded, for the Government to approve the changes.

Submission of shovel-ready schemes to the Y&NY LEP

As part of its job stimulus programme, the Government has asked Local Enterprise Partnerships to invite bids for funding of “shovel-ready” schemes in order to deliver two key objectives: boosting economic growth and supporting the green economy.

NYCC and City of York duly submitted a total of £52m worth of schemes to the York & North Yorkshire LEP, and these have now been listed in order of priority. It seems very likely that a number of the County Council’s schemes will be successful.

These are: repair of the A19 in Selby district, currently closed owing to flood damage in February (£6m), further investment in digital infrastructure, especially for businesses (£3m), and various significant improvements for business parks, including the Harrogate West Business Park on Burley Bank Road.