Wharfedale Greenway

 

The Parish Council have been in partnership since 2013 with Pool, Menston and Otley Parish Councils, plus Bradford and Leeds District Councils to develop a Wharfedale Greenway from Pool to Burley, with plans later on to extend to Ilkley and Addingham.

The Wharfedale Greenway is a proposed safe walking and cycling path that will link Burley with Otley and Ilkley with a traffic free route. Burley, Menston, Otley and Pool councils are working with Sustrans to seek funding for the proposed route. Sustrans primary objective is to make it easier for people to ride, walk and cycle providing traffic–free routes. Sustrans are custodians of the National Cycle Network (NCN), a series of safe, traffic-free paths and quiet on-road cycling and walking routes that connect to every major town and city in the UK. Phase one of the Wharfedale Greenway project will provide a riding, walking and cycle route between Otley and Burley. Otley, Ilkley and Burley have a flourishing cycling culture and have hosted the Tour de France and Tour de Yorkshire. However, there are no facilities suitable for family cyclists, and local businesses are missing out on this strong potential market. Sustrans propose that the project will form the first phase of a major tourist route linking York to the Yorkshire Dales.

In 2016, a series of studies undertaken by Leeds City Council identified a number of potential cycle facilities, but concluded that there are limited opportunities for continuous linear cycle routes due to the hilly terrain of the region. However, the disused Arthington to Burley railway (closed in 1965) links Arthington to Burley-in-Wharfedale via the Harrogate line, offering a unique opportunity to provide traffic-free cycling in the valley. Re-joining will provide: an easy link from Pool (avoiding a major road), for which Otley is the main centre of services and schools; an easy link from Burley-in-Wharfedale to Otley which offers alternative amenities to Ilkley; a link from Otley to the railway stations at Burley-in-Wharfedale and Menston; and, has the potential to provide a longer greenway route from York to the Yorkshire Dales capable of generating a tangible increase in the local tourism economy

Public consultations and requests have highlighted a desire for more family-orientated facilities that can provide leisure opportunities and links to schools that are suitable for novice and proficient cyclists alike.

Update: April 2017

Phase 1

The creation of a Wharfedale Greenway took a major step forward with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in November 2016.

 

The Councils of Otley, Burley-in-Wharfedale, Menston and Pool-in-Wharfedale have been working on the scheme, to produce a walking and cycling route along the old railway line, for three years. They have now made a formal commitment to:

  • Deliver the Greenway in the long-term
  • Continue to make financial contributions
  • Offer officer and councillor support for the whole life of the project.

Sustrans have now completed a technical feasibility study for the phase one, Burley to Otley section which was funded by contributions from all four parishes. The completion of the phase one feasibility study means the steering group can now prepare to fundraise for the construction work and submit proposals to the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.

Phase 1 costs are around £2.5 million for which funding will be sought.

Burley Parish Council will be seeking a s106 payment from planning building development work within Burley to start some early work on a small section of the Greenway

Phase 2

The decision by Ilkley and Addingham Parish Councils to join the Greenway is a welcome addition the project. In January 2017Ilkley Parish Council gave the go ahead to progress a feasibility study from Sustans to assess routes and costs from Burley to Ilkley and on to Addingham

Update: December 2017

There is a walk planned to promote the Wharfedale Greenway on Saturday 27th January 2018. Meet at the Otley Roundabout on the A660 at 10am and finish at Burley Library to look at plans for the Greenway and to enjoy a well-earned hot drink and biscuits. At the library will be details of the proposed phases and also considerations for an Ilkley / Addingham / Bolton Abbey link