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Divided opinion over new station plan for Arthington
Councillors have backed plans to re-open Arthington train station, but remain divided over what benefits it would bring to Otley.
Otley Town Council’s executive committee agreed on Monday to support in principle Pool Parish Council’s bid to open a station south of Arthington Lane, on the Leeds to Harrogate line.
But while some spoke in favour of the proposal, others voiced the same concerns over parking and traffic implications as those raised by Arthington Parish Council, which opposes the plan.
The Otley council had been sent a letter asking for their backing, along with the results of a survey of Pool residents which showed strong support for the scheme.
Councillor Graham Kirkland said: “This is a project that’s well worth supporting.
“In the current financial situation it might take a year or decade or two, but this does need to get ‘in the queue’ and if we really do believe people ought to travel by public transport then this is a prerequisite.”
Town mayor Councillor Ray Smith said: “At the moment many people from Otley use the station at Menston. If Arthington were opened it would take the pressure off Menston. In terms of Otley, I would welcome a new station in the Wharfe Valley and would support Pool wholeheartedly. And it would open up a new public transport link for people from Otley, to Harrogate.
“Any attempts to increase public transport in our area have to be supported, and we have to be forward-looking here.”
However, Coun Neville Birch said the community would have to pay a price.
“I’m puzzled that Pool’s inviting this to happen,” he said. “What about the traffic that’s going to build up along that twisting, winding road? You have to wonder five years from now who will be complaining because they can’t cross the road in Pool because it’s got so busy.”
Coun Lawrence Ross said: “From Otley’s point of view there’s not a lot of advantage to be gained, but anything that could potentially put people from Pool and Arthington on to trains would be an advantage. It would also lighten the load of road traffic from here to Leeds, but apart from that I don’t see it being of great benefit to Otley.”
Council leader Coun Jim Spencer said ideally they would like Otley to have its own station, but that wasn’t the proposal.
He said: “I think the question of cars and car parking is the real issue. If there was a huge car park there at Arthington so you could park there and catch the train it would be useful, because you can’t park at Menston it’s so busy. But as I understand it there’s not a lot of space to put cars in Arthington.
“However, at the worst this can’t be detrimental to us. I think the feeling is we would support Pool in their efforts to get a station, but we don’t exactly see that there’s a lot of advantages for Otley unless there’s a decent car park.”