The West Yorkshire Combined Authority has submitted an ambitious final bid to the Government’s Transforming Cities Fund.
The core bid is for £406 million and includes some investment in York.
Some sections of the local media are getting very excited today about a plan to run a “driverless” shuttle service in York City centre. The aim would be to improve accessibility for people with disabilities.
According to papers published by the Leeds based Authority, the service would initially be based at the Piccadilly car park although additional “hubs” might later be opened at the Marygate and the University.
There is likely to be some scepticism about the safety of operating driver-less vehicles in busy pedestrianised areas.
Other features, of what the Leeds planners call a FMZ mobility hub, include improved inter model arrangements (pedestrian/cycle), fast charging facilities for electric taxis and delivery lockers. Dozens of sites across the region have been identified for similar “hub” treatments.
Much of the bid money would be spent on improving railway stations including York.
It is claimed that a successful bid would “enable direct sustainable access to major development sites, including White Rose Business Park, Olympia Park and York Central” and includes a contribution towards improvements to the A1237 York northern bypass.
There will be issues with some of the terminology used in the West Yorkshire centric document.
York is dismissed as being amongst the 20% of wealthy areas in the country with the region failing – like the York Council itself – to recognise that pockets of deprivation exist in parts of the City. No investment for these neighbourhoods is identified in the bid.
The process serves to emphasise just how remote governance has become in Yorkshire. An unelected regional body determines expenditure priorities for millions of people with little consultation (and minimal communication).
Council taxpayers will be expected to pick up part of the bill for many of these changes yet their involvement in the process seems, at best, to be an afterthought.