A £2.25 million investment to support a new Otley relief road has been approved by Leeds City Council.

The authority agreed last summer to underwrite the initial costs of creating a 1.5km road that would link Pool Road with Leeds Road.

The road (EORR), which would provide an eastern bypass, has to be built to allow the long-anticipated, 550 home East of Otley scheme to progress.

The city council’s Executive Board received an update on the plan as a whole, and agreed to authorise £2.245 million of funding for the road - which will be recouped from the site’s developers - when it met on Wednesday, February 12.

Councillor Colin Campbell (Lib Dem, Otley & Yeadon) said: “This shows a commitment to get on with a much needed piece of infrastructure work.

“It is good to know that work is in progress towards the goal of starting building the road next year.”

The paper that was presented is effectively a ‘progress report’ as the council works towards submitting a planning application later this year.

It describes the East of Otley scheme, whose progress has been complicated due to the need to negotiate with multiple landowners, as ‘a significant opportunity to deliver a high quality mixed use and sustainable extension of Otley’ and make a ‘major contribution’ to the city’s housing growth strategy.

It also stresses how important the relief road will be in terms of bringing ‘wider environmental, social and economic benefits’ to Otley.

It says: “A Climate Emergency was declared by the city council on March 27, 2019. It is therefore critical that the development to the East of Otley and the EORR is designed in a way that not only mitigates the impact of the scheme on climate change but also makes a positive contribution to the sustainable development of the district.

“It is anticipated that there will be immediate improvements to air quality in Otley town centre through reductions in congestion and overall vehicular traffic levels as a result of through journeys being re-routed along the EORR as a more efficient and purpose built highway, which in turn will enable an uplift in the quality of the town centre environment - benefitting residents, shoppers and businesses.”

The report also warns the council, which has already secured £6.3 million of government funding towards the road, that building the EORR will be a ‘highly technical and challenging engineering project with costs significantly exceeding that of a standard highway’.

Some 190 of the East of Otley homes are set to be affordable and the scheme will also include the provision of a new primary school, five hectares of employment land, and public green space.