WORK to improve access to one of the area's busiest rail stations has moved to the next stage.

A £7.8 million scheme to improve accessibility at Skipton Rail Station aims to get more people walking and cycling to the station rather than driving.

The work will include improving public spaces, improving accessibility and connectivity between the railway station, the bus station, and Skipton Town Centre through "high-quality walking and cycling routes" along Broughton Road and the route linking the railway station area with the bus station, and upgrading existing pedestrian and cycling facilities along the Auction Mart canal footpath.

At a meeting of West Yorkshire Combined Authority today members agreed to provide £934,000 of funding to move the scheme to the full business case stage of the plans.

The cash will come from the Government's Transforming Cities Fund - a multi million pound investment in transforming travel in West Yorkshire.

A report to the authority's investment committee explained that improvements to the North Yorkshire station would help boost links with West Yorkshire.

£13 million scheme to improve Interchange access, and demolish car park, still on track despite new station proposals

Skipton has the second busiest rail station in North Yorkshire with 1.2 million passenger journeys a year, with numbers only expected to increase. The committee was told that the current facility was unattractive to pedestrians and cyclists.

A report to members said: "The proposed scheme will transform Skipton Rail Station into a multi-modal, sustainable travel hub improving the town and district’s connectivity with Leeds, Bradford and the wider Leeds City Region supporting inclusive and sustainable future economic growth.

"The small, compact nature of Skipton and the location of future developments demonstrate the scheme’s potential to encourage behaviour change and stimulate a shift from car to walking, cycling, rail, and bus."

Mark Ramsden, head of service for Transforming Cities Fund projects, said: "There are also a number of further developments planned for the outskirts of the town which are likely to encourage more car journeys without better infrastructure being in place."

The works will cost around £7.3 million and are expected to be completed by March 2023.

Councillor Peter McBride referred to the face that for many it would be odd that a West Yorkshire Authority would be approving a scheme for a North Yorkshire Town. He said: "It must be very confusing for the public to see the geographies of different schemes.

"I do wonder whether the Government is clear about how it is spending its money."

Councillor Andrew Waller replied: "I think it would be against the interests of our area to have a hard border between North and West Yorkshire. A lot of people regularly travel between the two."

There will be four main elements of the scheme.

The Skipton Railway Station Gateway will include:

A new plaza with planting, lighting, and seating

New cycle storage facilities at the rail station; widened footpaths; two way cycle lane and new pedestrian / cycle crossing on Broughton Road linking the rail station to the town centre and Aireville Park.

Reconfiguration of the existing car park, with the number of parking spaces remaining the same and the installation of five electric vehicle

charging points.

Proposed provision for drop off/coach/bus parking and disabled parking.

Broughton Road Active Travel Corridor

New two-way cycle route along Broughton Road and one-way segregated cycle lanes on both sides at the section between Belmont Bridge and the junction of Keighley Road and Swadford Street

The realignment of the existing roundabout at Broughton Road Morrisons to allow for a new cycle route

New pedestrian / cycling crossing to the east of Broughton Road / Brewery Lane’s junction, upgraded signal-controlled crossing on Swadford Street

Raised pedestrian crossings at side roads to slow down vehicles.

Skipton Railway Station to College Campus Footpath Enhancements

Re-surfacing and widening of 1.1 kilometre of existing public footpath between Skipton Railway Station, Craven Auction Mart, and Craven College Campus

New 300 metre footpath connecting the canal footpath to Craven Leisure Centre; Signage and other safety measures, and new seating.

Skipton Railway Station to Skipton Bus Station Active Travel Improvements

Improvement works to Gallows Bridge to address known issues with the bridge where uneven steps create a slip and fall hazard, as well as concerns over corrosion to the underside of the decking and severely corroded steel elements. The works will improve pedestrian access and will not extend to maintenance or renewal of the bridge. New pedestrian crossing at Cross St/Gas St junction; one way system for motor traffic on Carleton Street (westbound only); Parking on the north side of Carleton St to be removed.

Reconfiguration of the Black Walk / Tesco / Craven Street junction; provision of new signalised crossing on Craven Street between Carleton Street and Craven Mews.

Enhancements to Black Walk to provide a safer and attractive pedestrian

route between the railway station, the bus station, and the town centre.