A CRAVEN councillor says money intended for Harrogate’s £11.2m Station Gateway scheme should be spent in Skipton if the scheme falls through.

Last month, senior Conservative councillors in Northallerton agreed to consider different options in an attempt to rescue Harrogate’s troubled transport project.

The most likely option for North Yorkshire Council is to focus on its less controversial aspects, which might include public realm improvements at Station Square and One Arch, in an attempt to deliver the scheme in some form.

But alternative options could also fail to win support and the council may decide to scrap it altogether.

Rather than handing money back to government, Green Party councillor for Aire Valley, Andy Brown, told the Skipton & Ripon planning committee this week that the Harrogate money could be used to improve Skipton’s own £7.8m Station Gateway scheme.

Like in Harrogate it’s being paid for through the government’s Transforming Cities Fund but it’s proved to be far less controversial with the public than across the A59, although there is one particular stumbling block in the Skipton plans where station owner and rail operator, Northern, has said there can be no daytime construction work.

The planning committee met last week in Skipton to consider replacing a footbridge over the Leeds and Liverpool canal, which forms part of the Skipton Gateway proposals.

Councillors approved the replacement bridge but its design was strongly criticised as it does not offer ramped disabled access.

Cllr Brown queried if Harrogate TCF money could be spent on the bridge to improve accessibility. He said: “We should be sending a message [to the council] that they seek every alternative source, including if the Harrogate scheme falls through, to achieve disabled access”.

A report prepared for the council’s Conservative-run executive in September confirmed that funding would be able to transferred from the Harrogate scheme to Skipton or Selby with approval from the government.

It said: “In principle, this funding may be able to be reallocated to either or both the Selby and Skipton TCF projects in North Yorkshire. Written approval from the funder would be required which would be requested should this be necessary. The FBCs for these projects would have to justify any proposed reallocation in addition to agreement from the funder.”

North Yorkshire Council has said it will put forward its next steps for the Harrogate Station Gateway before November.