Town centres in line for biggest investment in decades

This story was published 18 January 2022

The town centres of Harrogate, Selby and Skipton are in line for their biggest investment in decades.

Station parade visulisation

The £42m package of infrastructure improvements aims to increase productivity through improved transport connectivity and promote healthy and sustainable travel. The spending should also deliver a much-needed economic boost after successive town centre lockdowns.

In a report published this week, our Executive is recommended to take the proposals forward to detailed design stage to be ready for implementation and for a final business case to be prepared for each project.

The proposals include:

  • For Harrogate, improved railway and bus station frontages 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.
  • For 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.
  • For 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.

The schemes are being paid for from the government’s Transforming Cities Fund and aim to drive up productivity through improved connections between urban centres and suburbs with a focus on investment in infrastructure to improve public and sustainable transport connectivity. North Yorkshire’s proposals are set to increase people’s access to jobs, education, healthcare and leisure facilities, encourage sustainable travel, reduce car journeys, improve public health and wellbeing and create a higher-quality environment for residents, visitors, businesses and wildlife.

County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Access, said: “These proposals represent the biggest investment in Harrogate, Selby and Skipton town centres in decades and aim to increase productivity by making it quicker, easier and safer for people to travel around and connect with economic opportunities. We want to encourage more people to travel by foot, bike and public transport because it is good for health and the environment by promoting fitness and reducing congestion. The spending will also provide a welcome boost for our town centres after two difficult years of trading during the pandemic.

“The entire project is a great example of partnership working between Craven District Council, Harrogate Borough Council, Selby District Council, North Yorkshire County Council and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and is set to deliver real benefits to residents and businesses across our county. We have listened to feedback from the public consultations and are confident people will be pleased with the results.”

A report for our Executive seeks member approval to submit a final business case to the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, which is administering funds on behalf of the Department for Transport.