NORTH Yorkshire bosses should think again about scrapping plans for a Cross Hills railway station, says a parish councillor.

Cllr Gill Birks has demanded the county council allow South Craven parish councils and regional transport bodies planning groups to make representations before a final decision is made.

Cllr Birks, who sits on Glusburn and Cross Hills Parish Council, said such consultation could offer a constructive way forward for the North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) Craven Area Committee.

She added: “This would mean that if funds become available from Central Government, plans are at an advanced stage and can then be implemented.”

Cllr Roger Baxendall, who represents Glusburn ward on Craven District Council, agreed that local bodies should be consulted.

Cllr Birks made her comments a letter to the Keighley News soon after the Area Committee meeting decided it could not afford the spiralling costs of the project.

The station was initially expected to cost between £6.5 million and £9 million, but the latest estimates are between £14 million and £23 million.

As well as the construction of the station, the signalling would also have to be changed because the platform would be close to the level crossing.

Area Committee members demanded that the site of the proposed station, which is owned by NYCC, should be safeguarded for the future.

Members believe such a station could form part of essential links across the Pennines, which could include the opening of a Skipton to Colne railway line.

Cllr Birks said the decision to scrap the station project was taken without any knowledge of a parish council.

She said: “It seems incredible that the proposed station was so easily dismissed when it is included in other regional transport plans for the area.

“The figures are difficult to believe in comparison to other proposed rail projects and certainly how any cost benefit analysis was arrived at.”

“There is land available to provide the necessary station and car parking at Cross Hills. The cost of building this station will only increase the longer it is delayed.

“The problem of parking to access the trains at Steeton or Cononley is a major issue and demand is increasing annually.

Cllr Baxandall said he had not been consulted either before the NYCC committee made its decision.

He said: “They need to take the decision back and let us have a say. Cross Hills must be one of the most congested villages in North Yorkshire.

“I don’t know where they got the figures from the building the station. I can see how it costs that price for putting two platforms in – someone is charging a lot for very little.”