Public invited to give views on £31m plans to improve travel in towns

This story was published 19 February 2021

New entrances to railway stations, new public spaces linking stations to town centres and better access to education and employment sites are included in £31m proposals to transform the gateways to three North Yorkshire towns.

Harrogate Station Parade

A partnership of local authorities has succeeded in a bid to secure a total of £31m for three separate projects in Harrogate, Selby and Skipton town centres from the Department for Transport’s Transforming Cities Fund (TCF).

Now, the public, businesses and organisations are to be invited to have their say on the proposals.

The TCF aims to make it easier, safer and quicker for people to travel on foot, by bike and by public transport by funding improved transport connections. In each of the three towns, a major package of investment will improve opportunities for sustainable travel and link transport hubs with centres of education and employment.

These transformational projects will be delivered in partnership by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, North Yorkshire County Council, Craven District Council, Harrogate Borough Council and Selby District Council and are scheduled to be completed by 2023.

The proposals include:

  • In Skipton, improved access for walking and cycling from the railway station to the bus station; improved railway station frontage and improved access to education and employment sites.
  • In Harrogate, improved railway station frontage with better access for walking and cycling; improved facilities for walking and cycling in the town centre; and improvements to public spaces in the town.
  • In Selby, improved station frontage and links to the town centre, Abbey and nearby bus station; improved walking and cycling links to major redevelopment sites, including a new cycle and footbridge over the River Ouse to the Olympia Park site.

Cllr Kim Groves, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transport Committee, said: “We’re delighted to be working with our local authority partners across North Yorkshire on these important schemes, which will make it easier to travel on foot, by bike and by public transport, connecting more people to job, training and education opportunities.  

“It is estimated TCF schemes will improve journeys by bus, rail, bike and on foot for up to 1.5 million people, and take up to 12 million car trips per year off our roads.

“Our region deserves a transport system which fills people with pride, with optimism and, above all, with the confidence we have a clear direction of travel towards future prosperity for all, while helping us achieve our aim of becoming a net zero carbon economy by 2038.”

North Yorkshire County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Access, said: “Improving the gateways to Skipton, Selby and Harrogate will not only make the towns more attractive, but will also provide infrastructure for sustainable travel. We have looked at barriers to people accessing public transport, cycling and walking and devised schemes to address these. This is a tremendous opportunity to work towards our sustainable transport goals and improve access to employment and education.

“This investment is now more important than ever to boost North Yorkshire’s economic recovery and to help get the county back on track after the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Councillor Simon Myers, Craven District Council’s Lead Member for Enterprising Craven, said: “This is an important scheme, which aims to encourage investment in Skipton and Craven, promote economic growth, and make the area more attractive for businesses and employees.

“These proposals will make walking, cycling and public transport more attractive for our residents, which is good news both for the environment and for the health and wellbeing of our communities.

“The scheme also aims to attract younger people and families to Craven, and improve access to employment and training opportunities.

“We are keen to hear your views as we develop and finesse these plans, to help us provide the best possible environment for our residents, businesses and visitors.”

Councillor Phil Ireland, Harrogate Borough Council’s cabinet member for carbon reduction and sustainability, said: “Through the Harrogate Congestion Study, it was clear the community wanted to see improvements to walking, cycling and public transport prioritised.

“The TCF project is the first step to delivering this and I’m pleased that the hard work and determination of council officers has paid off, and helped secure around £8million for the Harrogate bid.

“This funding will allow communities across the region to easily access a transport network which is hassle-free and offers realistic sustainable alternatives to the car. It will also deliver a 21st century travel network that is vital if we want to ensure economic growth around the region.”

“This is a once in a generation chance to totally re-design this part of Selby town centre,” explained Cllr David Buckle, Lead Executive Member for Communities and Economic Development at Selby District Council. “We want to create a new link between the station and our beautiful Abbey. We want a new footbridge over the River Ouse to the Olympia Park site to open up this area and we also want to improve links to the station from big new development sites, to make it easier for people to cycle and walk to the station.

“We're really excited to share this vision for how this part of the town can be transformed.  Selby district is the fastest-growing in North Yorkshire and we're seeing lots of new investment in Selby town centre.  Setting out bold and ambitious plans like this is a way in which the District Council can support this new investment and continue this transformation.”

Public consultations on the proposals for each of the three towns will be launched on 24 February. The authorities encourage as many people, businesses and organisations as possible to give their views by completing an online survey. From 24 February, people can read more about the proposals at and complete the surveys.

The authorities will host a series of online events at which people can hear more and ask questions before completing the survey. Events will be held about the Harrogate project on 3 and 10 March; the Skipton project on 2 and 11 March; and the Selby project on 4 and 12 March. All will start at 6pm. Find more details of the online events.

Cllr Mackenzie added: “This is your chance to have a say on major improvements to town centre environments in three of our North Yorkshire towns. The proposals are at an early stage and your feedback will help to shape the next stage of the project plans, which are due to be completed in autumn this year.”

The consultation will be open until 24 March 2021.