New train station would "jeopardise" improved service between York and Knaresborough, councillor says

Cattal train station. Picture: Google.
Cattal train station. Picture: Google.
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A new train station at the site of a proposed housing development at Flaxby would "jeopardise" advanced plans for a multi-hour service between York and Knaresborough, councillors have been told.

Harrogate Borough Councillor Michael Harrison asked cabinet member for planning, Coun Rebecca Burnett, to clarify the council's stance on a proposal by developers Flaxby Park Ltd to reopen a train station at Goldsborough.

In his question, Coun Harrison said he was aware that North Yorkshire County Council are in advanced talks with Network Rail to provide two trains an hour in each direction between York and Knaresborough, with funding for signalling and infrastructure changes already secured.

"Much has been made of a claim that a new railway station can be provided (at Goldsborough), thus improving the attractiveness and sustainability of the site for housing development," Coun Harrison said in his question.

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"But I understand that provision of another railway station could not be accommodated as well as achieving a reliable two trains an hour in each direction."

Coun Harrison's question comes after Flaxby Park Ltd, who have lodged an application for 2750 new homes at the site of a former golf course west of the A1, widely publicised their plans to reopen the nearby Goldsborough railway station as a park-and-ride hub.

The Flaxby site is not the preferred location of a new village in Harrogate's draft local plan, which is currently in front of the government inspector.

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Instead, the council have earmarked land near Green Hammerton as their preferred development area, with a key point being existing transportation links - including a currently functioning train station nearby at Cattal.

Despite this, Flaxby developers have continued with work around their site, including purchasing the historic Goldsborough railway station and voicing their intentions to reopen it.

Responding to Coun Harrison, Coun Burnett stated the county council had said "it would be highly likely that a new station would jeopardise our two trains per hour ambition".

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She also reiterated comments from operator Network Rail, stating a new station would "significantly impact" journey time; that the station as proposed would not be compatible with the scheme of two trains per hour; and that increasing the number of stations on the line may make it more difficult to secure improvements.

She added that Network Rail had said a potential development at Green Hammerton would "help with the commercial justification for improvements" to the rail line.

Lachlan Leeming, Local Democracy Reporting Service