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Growth Deal project agreed by councillors

Craven District councillors have agreed to move forward with plans to deliver the £4.68 million Skipton Employment and Housing Growth project.

The council will lead on the project which will improve highway and transport infrastructure in Skipton and support future economic growth.

Plans include upgrading Engine Shed Lane and Ings Lane, and constructing a road to connect the end of Ings Lane with the road network.

Pedestrian routes from the railway station to the town centre will be improved, possibly including the canal towpath, and plans will be worked up for the redevelopment of the area surrounding the railway station.

The Government has allocated the money to the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Local Enterprise Partnership, which has been earmarked for Skipton.

However, the money is not secured until the Local Enterprise Partnership and North Yorkshire County Council have entered into a funding agreement with Craven District Council.

Councillors met at the full council meeting on Tuesday January 31, and agreed to submit a full business case for the plans.

David Smurthwaite, Craven District Council's Strategic Manager, said: "We can now move forward with the aim of beginning work this autumn.

"The investment in Engine Shed Lane and Ings Lane will reduce the number of heavy goods vehicles travelling through the town centre and residential areas, and improve pedestrian safety. It will also bring forward the development of eight hectares of land for employment.

"Skipton Railway Station is the second busiest in North Yorkshire and would greatly benefit from improved facilities and pedestrian connections. We will be working with the Canal & River Trust and Arriva Rail North on these plans.

"The third element of the project is a proposal to look at the re-structuring of the land around the Railway Station, for housing and commercial activities.  Working with North Yorkshire County Council and Network Rail, this will involve the preparation of a masterplan, to inform future development."

The council is intending to deliver the project over the next three financial years, and aims to submit the business case by the end of March this year, with the aim of having the funding agreement with North Yorkshire County Council in place by May 2017.

If the project proceeds as anticipated, work could start on the first phase, the upgrade of Engine Shed Lane and Ings Lane, by late 2017.