A £7.8 million reconfiguration of Skipton Railway Station has finally been given the go-ahead with a proviso that disruption to businesses and residents through night-time working be kept to a minimum.

The Skipton and Ripon Area Constituency planning committee had earlier met on October 23 to determine the plans for the ‘Skipton Gateway’ project, but voted for a deferment when a late amendment threw a spanner in the works over working hours.

Northern, which manages the station, said no work could take place on the huge scheme during the day and requested construction hours be between 6pm and 3am Monday to Friday and from 8am to1am on Saturdays. No working at all on Sundays and bank holidays.

Planning committee members said it was unfair that the applicant, North Yorkshire Council, should bring forward an amendment on the day of the committee meeting and voted to defer. They also asked that the removal of 12 trees on site be replaced with semi-mature or saplings at a greater ratio of one-to-five (removing one and replacing with five), rather than the one-to-three suggested.

This week the committee met again and was told the funding available did not allow for a larger ratio of trees, many of which would be planted in Aireville Park.

Members were also unhappy that little change was made to operation times with the only alteration on Saturdays when work would finish at 1pm.

Cllr Andy Brown said he was a great fan of the scheme but was disappointed that there was no clarity in how businesses and residents near the site could be affected by the working hours.

“I am no clearer. I propose we accept the application and the hours of working be kept under review to ensure there is no interference with local businesses.” This was seconded by Cllr Robert Heseltine.

Cllr Andrew Williams asked if the wording could be altered for the hours of working if there were complaints and reviewed by the chair and vice chair.

Cllr Andy Solloway said he was disappointed the tunnel connecting the station with the business parks and Sandylands area was not being developed, adding the scheme did not fully recognise the disabled or people with pushchairs, or pedestrian safety in general.

In relation to working hours, planning manager Neville Watson said: “I can understand where members are coming from but you cannot take enforcement action against a condition to actually reduce the hours of work. That would be a non-starter. You can’t reissue a planning condition.”

He instead suggested reviewing the condition and tightening it up to give a greater degree of control.

Members voted to give delegated authority to the planning manager to grant permission subject to a revised condition relating to a one-to-five tree ratio (using saplings as suggested by Cllr David Ireton), a review of the drafting of the condition relating to operation hour and handing a ‘considerate construction condition’ to the contractors.

The plans will see the site overhauled including a separate exit for vehicles, more disabled parking, a new bus stop with seating, a reconfigured taxi rank, reconfigured parking, landscaping, improvements to Black Walk with ‘living lampposts’ which incorporate planters, 10 EV charging points, a cycle shelter and lighting around the perimeter, a safe crossing point and stepped access to Morrisons car park.

There had been two public consultations with the latest receiving representations querying the loss of trees, drainage, the location of disabled spaces and a request for work to cease at 10pm.