York in bid to secure millions for new park and ride sites

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THE final designs for new congestion-busting park-and-ride sites to combat York’s notorious traffic tailbacks have been signed off in the hope of securing millions of pounds from the Government by the end of the year.

Two new schemes costing a total of £22m are being planned to bolster the city’s existing park-and-ride network which has been key in containing traffic levels and the number of vehicles heading into the city centre.

Senior civil servants at York Council have admitted that a successful park and ride service is “the cornerstone” of the city’s transport strategy and the current plans to expand the network have been in the pipeline for nearly a decade after they were first drawn up in 2003.

Blueprints for the new developments at Poppleton Bar and Askham Bar are now being finalised before the projects go out to tender this summer to finalise the exact cost. The Government has agreed in principle to finance the bulk of the costs, although final approval still needs to be gained.

The financial masterplan will need to be sent to Westminster to glean Ministerial support, and it is hoped that a decision will be made by December. If successful, construction work could begin in February next year before the new sites are finished in March 2014.

York Council’s cabinet member for city strategy, Coun Dave Merrett, approved the design plans for the two schemes on Thursday to allow them to go out to tender during the summer and autumn.

The city’s existing park-and-ride network has been instrumental in helping prevent congestion on York’s roads to get commuters, shoppers and tourists into the city centre.

But it is recognised that there is a massive demand for extra facilities, as the existing Askham Bar site has been operating at its maximum capacity for several years.

The proposals would see the Askham Bar facility relocated and doubled in size, with a new site introduced on the outskirts of York at Upper Poppleton.

This scheme will need a multi-million pound upgrade to a roundabout on the A59, which is already a major bottleneck for traffic.

The Yorkshire Post revealed last month that the council had decided to push ahead with the purchase of land for the two park and ride schemes.