Plans for a multi-storey car park to solve overcrowding problems at Silsden-Steeton railway station have been welcomed.

But local councillors have warned of 16 months’ misery for Steeton villagers as commuters struggle to find alternative spaces while the existing car park is closed for construction work.

They this week revealed details of project after a site meeting with a representative from West Yorkshire Combined Authority.

They were told the authority hoped to build one or two new decks on top of the existing car park, providing about 170 extra spaces with new CCTV and lighting. Parking would continue to be free.

They also used their local knowledge to suggest solutions to issues such as security, lighting and disability access.

The tiny station – little more than two platforms – is popular not only with local people, but also North Yorkshire and Lancashire residents who want to take advantage of cheaper West Yorkshire rail fares.

Around 850,000 people used the station last year, making it the 13th busiest in West Yorkshire.

The meeting with WYCA at the station was attended by Adrian Naylor and Rebecca Whitaker, who both sit on Bradford and Silsden councils, and Steeton-with-Eastburn Parish Council chairman David Mullen.

Cllr Naylor this week told the Keighley News he understood there would be two decks built on top of the existing main car park, which currently holds about 100 vehicles, providing a total of 268 spaces.

He said the overflow car park, with around 50 spaces, would be untouched, and the project would not need planning permission because WYCA had ‘permitted development’ rights.

Cllr Naylor added: “They are looking to start on site in about April this year, and it will take about 16 months to build. The majority of the time will be to put in extra foundations, because the car park straddles Steeton Beck.”

All three councillors expressed concern that WYCA appeared to have no plans for alternative parking for regular commuters displaced when the existing car park becomes a construction site.

Cllr Naylor said: “We don’t want to delay the project, but they’re going to have to find out where people who use the station will park for the next few months.”

Cllr Mullen feared “upheaval” for Steeton residents already plagued by commuters parking every day in residential streets.

He said: “WYCA have to come up with a solution. I can’t think of another space in Steeton - there it is no empty land. Passengers can’t drive to Cononley, Skipton or Keighley, there’s not enough parking there either.”

Cllr Whitaker said: “I welcome anything that eases the journeys for both commuters and other rail passengers. However even with the proposed additional parking I believe the demand for the spaces will be greater than the supply.”

Cllr Whitaker called for more ‘joined up’ thinking for all issues affecting public transport in the area, including access to the railway station, a footbridge over the Aire Valley road, better linkage between bus and train times, drop-off points and disability access.

The councillors also fear that the provision of free parking at the station could attract people not wishing to pay parking charges at nearby Airedale Hospital, and called for measures to ensure all car park users were rail passengers.

West Yorkshire Combined Authority this week said that initial feasibility work and shown that an additional deck of car parking would be possible at the station.

She said: “The site could have three levels of parking - the surface level and then two decks on top of this.

“Proposals will need approval from the landowner, Network Rail and the scheme will be subject to final funding approval by the Combined Authority.”