Plans for 7km cycleway in Knaresborough and upgrades for Ripon revealed as part of £1.5m bid

Plans for a 7km cycleway in Knaresborough and other improvements in Ripon have been revealed as part of a £1.5m bid for government cash.

Knaresborough. PIC: Tony Johnson

North Yorkshire County Council’s executive members for business and environmental services will meet next Friday (23 July) to approve the bid to the third round of the government’s Active Travel Fund for four potential projects across the county.

These include feasibility work for a segregated cycleway and footpath between Knaresborough and Flaxby Green Park which the council said would cost £50,000 and link with wider plans to improve connections to York.

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In Ripon, around £550,000 would be spent on the development of “sustainable travel corridors” in the west of the city. These could include footway widening, better crossing facilities and traffic calming measures.

The other two projects are for improvements near Cross Hills and Helmsley.

Councillor Don Mackenzie, executive member for access at the county council, said the proposals followed earlier rounds of the government fund when hundreds of suggestions were made by residents.

He said: “At the commencement of the government’s Active Travel Fund project, we asked members of the public, cycling and walking groups, and councillors to send us their suggestions for appropriate schemes for inclusion in our bids.

“We were very fortunate to receive over 300 responses, which continue to be assessed against the scheme criteria.

“Additionally, our officers are using our adopted local cycling and walking infrastructure plans to identify potential bid material.”

Under earlier rounds of the fund, the council bid for around £266,000 for other cycling and walking improvements but only received half of that amount.

The cash received has been earmarked for cycle lanes and junction upgrades on the A59 between Harrogate and Knaresborough, as well as similar improvements in the Victoria Avenue area of Harrogate town centre.

There were also plans for a one-way traffic system and junction filters on Oatlands Drive but these were scrapped after a fierce backlash from residents.

Instead, the council is carrying out a feasibility study this summer to look into what other improvements could be made not just on Oatlands Drive but also the surrounding area.

The aim for the A59 and Victoria Avenue schemes is for construction to start in November with completion in March 2022.

Meanwhile, a government decision on the third round bid is expected in autumn and, if successful, the funds must be spent before March 2023.

Jacob Webster , Local Democracy Reporting Service