£1.55m bid for cycling and walking improvements to be considered 


A bid for funding to enhance facilities for cyclists and pedestrians across North Yorkshire is to be considered by councillors.

The Government has invited councils to apply for a share of £239m available in the third tranche of its Active Travel Fund.

North Yorkshire County Council’s Executive Members for Business and Environmental Services will be asked to approve a bid for £1.55m when they meet on Friday, 23 July.

Officers have identified four schemes they believe best meet the Government’s criteria.

These are:

  • Improving a 3km stretch of towpath (1km in Bradford, 2km in Craven) between Kildwick and Silsden. The funding would cover construction of the section in North Yorkshire. This would improve access for leisure and health purposes. In Airedale, improved accessibility to the Kildwick to Silsden link would involve a better connection from Cross Hills to the towpath at Priest Bank Road, including widening the pedestrian underpass beneath the roundabout and providing ramped access to the canal at Cononley Lane End, the A629. The total cost would be £900,000.
  • Development of Ripon West sustainable travel corridors, which would benefit a number of schools in the area and provide access to the town centre from residential areas and any future developments in the area. Measures could include footway widening, crossing facilities and traffic calming measures. This would cost £550,000.
  • Feasibility work for a segregated foot/cycleway between Helmsley and Kirkbymoorside alongside the A170 to enhance access to employment and facilities for residents, tourists and workers, at a cost of £50,000.
  • Feasibility work for a segregated foot/cycleway, approximately 7km long, between Knaresborough and Flaxby Green Park alongside the rail line to provide access to key employment and residential sites. This would link to wider plans to deliver a cohesive route to York. The cost would be £50,000.

The Government has not indicated what the county’s funding allocation might be, but from the first two tranches of this fund it received about £1.14m. A decision on the new tranche is expected in autumn and funds must be spent before March 2023.

County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Access, said:

At the commencement of the Government’s Active Travel Fund project, we asked members of the public, cycling and walking groups, and councillors to send us their suggestions for appropriate schemes for inclusion in our bids. We were very fortunate to receive over 300 responses, which continue to be assessed against the scheme criteria.

Additionally, our officers are using our adopted Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans to identify potential bid material.

The first stage of the fund supported temporary infrastructure of aid social distancing, while the second aimed to enhance streets while providing space to enable non-motorised users to observe social distancing. In that stage, after evaluation and consultation the County Council agreed to progress three schemes: A59 (Harrogate Road, Knaresborough) between Badger Mount and Maple Close; Victoria Avenue, Harrogate, between the A61 (West Park) and Station Parade; and Guisborough Road and Mayfield Road, Whitby.

The councillors will also be asked to support an expression of interest in the County Council being one of four local authorities to take part in a GP prescribing pilot targeting areas of poor health and low physical activity to provide cycling and walking interventions as part of a social prescribing offer.

Pilots will prescribe cycling or walking and make available cycles, as well as training, access to cycling groups and peer support. Potential schemes could include cycle training courses, bike loan schemes and group activities. The pilot would also expect investment in infrastructure such as segregated lanes, low-traffic neighbourhoods and secure cycle parking.

The report to members says the county already has a framework in place to deliver this type of work, so the pilot would allow it to build on this.

Up to £100,000 will be made available to shortlisted authorities to develop detailed proposals.

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