AN ACTIVE Travel Neighbourhood Scheme is to be created in Otley.

The town has been named as one of six communities across Leeds that will benefit from a package of measures to 'provide safe streets with more space for walking and cycling'.

Details for what exactly will be introduced in each location, and the scale of funding, is still to be confirmed but the projects - informed by suggestions from residents - could involve:

*Steps to deter 'rat running' through residential areas

*Junction improvements to make it easier for pedestrians to cross and reduce speeds

*The creation of dedicated cycle and pedestrian routes

Leeds City Council is about to start consulting on ideas for the active travel schemes which are part of the authority's emergency walking and cycling plans to help communities adapt safely as the COVID-19 lockdown.

Otley and Yeadon's three ward Councillors (all Lib Dem, Otley & Yeadon) have welcomed the news. Cllr Sandy Lay said: "The COVID-19 lockdown has seen a major increase in the number of residents out walking or riding their bikes. This has been helped because there are fewer cars on the road which has made it much safer to get around."

Cllr Colin Campbell said: "Things are at an early stage with a range of schemes to build onto this, with a number of innovative proposals currently under investigation which should make it easier to walk or cycle round the town."

Cllr Ryk Downes added: "We would like to thank all those residents who have put forward ideas for projects. All their ideas are being looked at and hopefully many will be introduced to make Otley, as a town, more pedestrian and cycle friendly."

A range of earlier measures have already been introduced across Leeds to support walking and cycling. They have included creating more segregated cycle lanes and piloting six 'school streets', where traffic movements outside schools are restricted to drop off and pick up times.

In Otley, meanwhile, some social distancing signs and barriers to widen pavements were introduced at the end of May.

Leeds City Council’s Executive Member for Climate Change, Transport and Sustainable Development, Councillor Lisa Mulherin, said: "I would like to thank the thousands of people who provided tremendous feedback to our first round of consultation.

“In response to your feedback the council has now laid out its ambitious plans to promote active travel.

"I look forward to hearing your views, please take part in the consultation by visiting and get behind our efforts to have safe streets and to save lives."