York Transport Boss Blames North Yorkshire for Failed Outer Ring Road Bid
8:28am 8th August 2013
(Updated 8:30am 8th August 2013)
A failed bid to cut congestion on York's outer ring road has seen the city's transport boss blaming North Yorkshire council.
Dave Merrett's accused his county colleagues of 'narrow views' for turning down a £2 million bid to improve roundabouts, in favour of a £9.6 million upgrade to the Leeds, Harrogate and York rail line.
In a statement he said:
“We have a potential £83.5m package of schemes identified of which the biggest scheme is to improve the outer ring road along and reduce congestion. This £2m would have potentially have contributed to bringing the outer ring road scheme forward.
“What this confirms is that our aspirations will be best met through the West Yorkshire and York Local Transport Body, who are willing to work cross boundary in terms of taking transport forward.
“The upgrade of the outer ring road is critically important to York’s future both in terms of economic growth and congestion reduction. I'm obviously disappointed at the narrow view taken by the North Yorkshire representatives given previous indications that they recognise the strategic need to upgrade York's northern ring road for the County as well as the City."
But in fact York Council had previously told North Yorkshire it didn't need the cash, as it already had it from the West Yorkshire transport group.
Back on the 28th May, a report for North Yorkshire Council's executive committee said:
"The City of York council have confirmed that it is expected that the full scheme can be funded from the West Yorkshire ‘Plus’ Transport Fund and therefore the only benefit of a contribution from the NYLTB is likely to be to allow the upgrading of some of the roundabouts on the ring road to be brought forward."
The controversy comes after York Council announced it was leaving the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Local Enterprise Partnership in May to focus on building relationships in West Yorkshire.
Chair of the North Yorkshire Local Transport Body, Gareth Dadd has been speaking to Minster FM:
At its meeting on the 29 July 2013 the North Yorkshire Local Transport Body (NYLTB) recognised the importance of the York outer ring road upgrade and stressed that they wanted to see the scheme delivered.
The NYLTB did not support a £2m contribution to the York outer ring road upgrade primarily because the scheme is being funded in full through the West Yorkshire and York Local Transport Body. The delivery of the York outer ring road scheme is not dependent on a contribution from the NYLTB.
However, making a £2m contribution to the York outer ring road upgrade would have meant that the upgrade to the York – Harrogate – Leeds rail line scheme could not have been progressed. The NYLTB were also unconvinced about the actual benefits of bringing forward or enhancing one element of the York outer ring road upgrade scheme which is what the £2m contribution would have been used for.
The NYLTB therefore decided that by supporting a £9.6m contribution to the York – Harrogate – Leeds rail line scheme, two key transport priorities for the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Local Enterprise Partnership area could be delivered (albeit through different funding streams).
In terms of membership the North Yorkshire Local Transport Body consists of five voting members:
• Two Member representatives of North Yorkshire County Council
• One District Council Member representing the districts within the Leeds City Region
• One District Council Member representing the districts within the rest of North Yorkshire
• One representative from the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Local Enterprise Partnership
There are also advisory members from the City of York Council, East Riding of Yorkshire Council and the Leeds City region to reflect the importance of cross boundary transport issues.
Indeed it should be stressed that the York – Harrogate – Leeds rail line scheme will have benefits for both the City of York and West Yorkshire and demonstrates a commitment to collaborative cross-boundary working.
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