An ambitious £39m bid to improve access to Thirsk, Scarborough and Seamer railway stations in has been given the go-ahead.
North Yorkshire County Council’s Executive has today (Tuesday, 5 July 2021) approved submission of the bid to the Government’s Levelling-Up Fund.
At Thirsk, a £5.4m scheme would offer step-free access to every platform, bringing long awaited improvements for pedestrians and cyclists. It is proposed to replace the footbridge with a two-span bridge with three lift towers. One tower would be adjacent to the upper car park and the other two on the island platforms. A high-level walkway would connect the new footbridge to the drop-off point on Carlton Road.
The proposal at Scarborough station is to provide a transport hub to help to regenerate the station, reinvigorate a historic part of the town and strengthen connections between the station, town centre and seafront. It would host facilities including cycle storage, hire, repair and amenities, bus stands and waiting areas, taxi booking stands, electric vehicle rental facilities and commercial space. The £8.4m hub proposal is part of a wider plan for the station and surrounding area led by Scarborough Borough Council.
A £25.2m project at Seamer station would provide a new pedestrian and cycle link connecting the station to residential sites in the west, a new three-span open footbridge across the rail line and A64, including lifts to platforms one and two, and a new station car park to the east of the track on to the A64. The scheme would improve safety, enhance access to work places and business opportunities and increase station passenger demand.
The Levelling-Up Fund supports investment in local infrastructure that has a visible impact on people and their communities. The county council proposals aim to improve access for pedestrians and cyclists at the three stations, increase usage, reduce rail journey times and support decarbonisation of the transport network.
The county council’s executive member for highways and transportation, Cllr Keane Duncan, said:
We’re committed to modernising North Yorkshire’s transport infrastructure – with our bold proposals representing more than £39m of potential investment.
The three bids demonstrate the council’s ambitions to improve our stations, connecting residents with employment and supporting economic growth.
These latest bids are just part of our efforts. We are supporting similar station bids submitted by our district and borough council colleagues, while work to deliver the Transforming Cities Fund gateway projects at Harrogate, Selby and Skipton stations is already under way.
Anglo American has long campaigned for the improvements and has written to the Government in support of the county council’s bid. The head office of its Crop Nutrients business unit is located at Eastfield, close to Seamer station.
The company is behind the Woodsmith Project, which will see a naturally occurring mineral called polyhalite extracted from a new state-of-the-art mine near Whitby. It will then be transported in an underground tunnel to Teesside to be processed before being exported across the world as fertiliser.
Matt Parsons, General Manager of External Affairs, said:
The current station is in real need of an upgrade. In addition to our own business needs, Eastfield is the key growth area for the wider borough and improvements to Seamer station are essential to support future development. More homes continue to be built and there is huge potential with large areas of underutilised land at the business park.
An improved station, including better connectivity with the business park, will increase the likelihood of businesses such as Anglo American establishing themselves here. If we want to attract more businesses to invest and people to live in the area, the improvement of Seamer station is paramount.
If the bid is successful, work will begin within the current financial year, with a deadline for delivery of the schemes of March 31, 2025.