A PLANNED diversion of the land-slip prone section of the A59 at Kex Gill between Skipton and Harrogate has been given ‘positive feedback’ from the Government’s Department for Transport, councillors will be told tomorrow (Friday).

The Skipton and Ripon constituency committee of North Yorkshire County Council will hear a meeting was held with Government officials in July, after which the feedback was given to the council’s outline business case and of its ‘value for money' as a resilience scheme.

In the report to tomorrow’s meeting, due to take place at the Community House, Ripon, Ken Moody, of the county council’s business and environmental services department says the DfT has suggested some minor additions to the outline business case which will be incorporated into the final version due to submitted to Government at the end of November.

In the meantime, surveys and work in connection with the Environmental Impact Assessment in support of the planning application, to do with bats, owls, and upland waders, such as curlews, are ongoing.

A planning application for the new just more than three mile section of road, costing in the region of £40 million, is on course to be submitted next month, with work on site hoped to start in the spring, subject to no public inquiry having to take place - if there are objections.

Skipton ward councillor Andy Solloway, said: “If this government and it’s ministers can find some time in between Brexit planning and rethinking HS2, it would be very good if they could look very positively on the North Yorkshire County Council business case for this scheme and find the funding for it as soon as possible. It genuinely is a ‘business case’ in that both Craven and Harrogate rely on this road for business as much as anything else, because there isn’t really an alternative to this road connection," he said.

“ Let’s hope there is no slippage on this road project, before another slippage closes the existing one.”

In tomorrow’s report, Mr Moody says there remains a ‘high risk’ that there will be further landslips in the future at Kex Gill which could potentially result in more long term closures of the road, severely impacting on connectivity between Skipton and Harrogate and the key Trans Pennine route.

Land instability and movement of the land above the A59 at Kex Gill has caused a number of landslides. The most recent was in May, 2018, which led to the road being closed for six weeks for initial repairs, followed by several months when just one lane was open. The road finally reopened fully in April this year following its complete closure for a week for resurfacing to take place, and costing £1.4 million.

Work on the new road is expected to take around 15 months to complete and is expected to create ‘minimal impact’ on motorists, apart from some disruption at each end of the scheme towards its completion.