York supports £1 billion regional transport investment

26 Apr 2013 @ 4.44 pm
| News

Issued by City of York Council

York, Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield, Calderdale and Kirklees are joining forces with one purpose – working together to enable major transport schemes to be brought forward in the region.

In new arrangements set out by the Department of Transport (DfT) last year, a joint Local Transport Body has been created to give local authorities the powers to determine how funding for major transport schemes should be spent.

In the coming weeks each authority will bring a report to their individual Cabinet meetings outlining their support to the principle of establishing a £1 billion ‘West Yorkshire Plus’ Transport Fund (WYTF) for the region.

A report will go before City of York Council’s Cabinet on Tuesday 7 May, to ask members to support the scheme backed by all West Yorkshire District Authorities.

The new partnership could see York’s transport infrastructure benefit from a wide package of improvement schemes worth around £80 million over the next ten years. including:

  • an increased capacity on the northern sections the Northern Outer Ring Road
  • creating the city’s first bus interchange next to York Station (demolishing Queen Street Bridge) and providing new access within the York Central development
  • creating a bus lane on the A19 and improved access to the Designer Outlet Park & Ride
  • providing full Park & Ride coverage of the city, including Clifton Moor Park & Ride
  • priorities for bus, cycle and walking access within and to the city centre.

Funding for the proposed infrastructure improvements will come from a variety of sources including direct Major Scheme and Local Transport Plan grants from the Department for Transport.

If approved, Local Authorities will be required to contribute towards the transport fund and York’s contribution would initially be £452K in 14/15, increasing to circa £4M per year by 2022/23, and would need to be maintained for the following 30 years.

Membership of the fund will enable York to benefit from the ‘Earn Back’ City Deal arrangements which distributes the additional business rates facilitated by the infrastructure works.

In addition to this, improvements to the Trans-Pennine train services (electrification) are also proposed to improve connectivity between York, Leeds and beyond and provide a key building block to achieve further rail improvements.

Other rail projects will also be developed to address connectivity between York and Castleford/Wakefield, Leeds Bradford Airport, and Bradford and Halifax via the Caldervale line.

The prioritised package of schemes in York follows a similar balanced approach as in West Yorkshire by offering additional highway capacity around York, while enabling sustainable growth (by bus, rail, walk and cycle) for access to new employment opportunities in the city centre.

The proposals also feed into York’s draft Local Plan’s aspirations – to provide improved transport infrastructure to support 20 employment sites and 62 housing sites indentified for future development in York over the next 15-years and beyond, including key areas like York’s City Centre, York Central and Monks Cross.

Cllr Dave Merrett, Cabinet Member for Transport, Planning and Sustainability, said: “Through these new powers we aim to address long overdue improvements on York’s Outer Ring Road and the five most important ring road junctions in York. This will significantly improve capacity, reduce congestion and delay on the highway and improve reliability for other Park & Ride services and public transport networks across the city.

“This is all part of the next phase of transport improvements in York, improving services for all transport users to enable quicker and more reliable journey times. Complemented by the Reinvigorate York scheme and other city centre measures to help boost York’s economy .”

During the Cabinet meeting, members will also be asked to sign up to a Memorandum of Understanding which has been prepared to set out the common will of the WYTF with partners.

Subject to agreement from West Yorkshire councils and City of York Council, a Joint Advisory Committee will be established to advise and make recommendations to the Local Transport Body.

Cabinet approved proposals for York to join a West Yorkshire and York LTB on 9 October 2012, subject to detailed Governance arrangements being agreed. The Department for Transport confirmed the indicative Major Scheme allocation for the West Yorkshire and York LTB in January 2013.

If approved by Cabinet, in principle, the transport fund proposals would then be taking to Full Council for final approval.

To find out more information visit www.york.gov.uk/transport.