Council backing for new £1bn transport authority

A CONTROVERSIAL Ravensthorpe bypass  could be a step nearer after councillors backed a new tier of government.

Kirklees Council’s Labour cabinet approved the creation of a combined West Yorkshire authority that will have a £1bn transport budget.

The decision means a bypass of clogged Ravensthorpe that could go through Mirfield moved a step closer.

Councillors agreed at the Huddersfield Town Hall meeting to put £359,000 this year towards the authority’s start-up costs.

Consultation runs until May 17, followed by a full council debate on May 22. It could then be passed to the Secretary of State for approval by July.

Kirklees was the last of West Yorkshire’s five councils to back the idea of a combined authority.

Made up of councillors and officials from the five councils, it would have a pooled transport fund.

Two projects mooted for the combined authority are a Ravensthorpe bypass and improvements at Cooper Bridge.

A report cabinet members considered shows (as The Press noted last week) the schemes are linked to an equally controversial planning strategy.

Green Belt land at Cooper Bridge and Chidswell in Dewsbury are earmarked for industry in the new Local Development Framework (LDF).

The road projects are aimed at linking the two sites together, even though the LDF has yet to be approved by the Government.

Other proposals include a new M62 junction, designated 24a, to improve traffic flow at Cooper Bridge; park-and-ride facilities at Chidswell; and work on the Leeds-to-Dewsbury road corridor to improve bus reliability.

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