CGI of Selby regeneration.
Austen Shakespeare

North Yorkshire Council backs three town centre transformations

North Yorkshire County Council’s Executive today gave unanimous backing to preparing detailed designs and final business cases for the transformation of three Yorkshire town centres.

The £42m package of transport improvements is a huge investment in Harrogate, Selby and Skipton. It aims to connect more people with the places they want to go by making it easier to walk, cycle and use public transport. By so doing, it aims to bring an economic boost.

The schemes are being paid for with money from the Government’s Transforming Cities Fund, which is designed to transform gateways to towns and cities across the region by making it easier to walk, cycle and use public transport.

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.

• For Selby, improved station frontage and links to the town centre, Abbey and bus station; improved walking and cycling links to major redevelopment sites.

• 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.

North Yorkshire’s proposals are set to increase people’s access to jobs, education, healthcare and leisure facilities, as well as improving health and wellbeing by enabling easier active travel and making towns more welcoming places for residents, visitors, businesses and wildlife.

County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Access, said: “This is about making these town centres more accessible and welcoming, and the many benefits that can bring. All three schemes are intended to bring a range of improvements.

“As well as increasing opportunities for cycling, walking and the use of public transport, they set out to improve the public realm and make the town centres still more attractive to residents and visitors. In turn, these measures will boost the towns’ economic prospects.

“This project is a great example of working together to deliver benefits to residents and businesses. We have listened and responded to feedback from the public consultations and are confident people will be pleased with the results.”

Harrogate business organisations raised concerns about the impact of the proposals on businesses. However, an economic study considered by councillors concluded that there was a strong economic case for the Harrogate Station Gateway scheme.

The study said: “The scheme will support inclusive growth by presenting new opportunities to access jobs, education and training – that will serve to support a sustainable labour force in the district. There is a strong precedent that the scheme will increase footfall and retail performance, increase property/land values and increase business investment.”

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