AUTHORITIES have been accused of “dragging their feet” over plans to provide desperately-needed extra car parking at a railway station.

Councillor Adrian Naylor is calling for work to get started on the scheme, which could see up to two new decks built on the existing car park at Steeton & Silsden Station.

The project would provide about 170 extra parking spaces at the site, which suffers from chronic overcrowding.

But West Yorkshire Combined Authority says a “rigorous appraisal process” has to be followed, and that a business case should be ready for submission this summer.

Cllr Naylor, a Craven ward district councillor and a member of Silsden Town Council, said: “We were given the impression at a meeting in January that work would be starting last month.

“When it didn’t, I contacted the combined authority which told me they hadn’t got the business case written and it was still to go through the funding panel.

“The business case is only just being compiled now and so we won’t see anything happening for another few months.

“It’s so frustrating.

“The implication in January was that everything was done and dusted and they had been through all the necessary hoops.

“But what we are being told now is that in fact they were no where near starting.

“Once the business case is complete it will then all have to be approved by the combined authority and train operator Northern.”

He fears that any continued delays in implementing the scheme could see it fail.

“We may well have a situation where they’re telling us the costs have gone-up and it’s now too expensive,” added Cllr Naylor.

“Problems with car parking capacity at this site were being discussed back in 2006, so it’s been going on for years.

“It’s ridiculous that we’re still talking about it now and waiting for something to be done.

“This scheme is desperately needed and they should get on with it.”

West Yorkshire Combined Authority says a business case is currently being finalised.

A spokesman told us: “A full assessment of the potential demand for parking at Steeton & Silsden Station clearly identified the need for an extra parking deck to ensure the scheme provides a long-term benefit to people using the station.

“We now need to secure approval for this larger scheme through the combined authority’s rigorous appraisal process of any investment via the £1 billion West Yorkshire-plus Transport Fund.

“An updated, full business case – setting out how the scheme delivers high value and meets the fund’s objectives of supporting economic growth from which everyone can benefit – is now being finalised and is scheduled to be submitted in early July.

“Once we have gained approval for the extension scheme, we can then start to programme the work in with Northern – which will manage construction – as well as continue to work to identify the interim challenges of temporary parking while the construction is being carried out.”

Steeton & Silsden Station is popular not only with local people, but also with North Yorkshire and Lancashire residents seeking 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 extended car park would include new CCTV and lighting.

Parking would continue to be free.

Cllr Naylor and other councillors, including Steeton-with-Eastburn Parish Council chairman David Mullen, have raised concerns about where station users would park while the construction work was carried out. Cllr Naylor stressed an alternative temporary parking area would be needed.