Otley Town Council has launched the next phase of its StreetVision2030 project with the appointment of Dutch specialists Mobycon as expert consultants to help produce a vision and plan for how Otley’s roads, streets and public spaces can be transformed over the next decade to create a calmer, safer, greener town for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.
StreetVision2030 will be the next major environmental initiative for Otley Town Council, as well as a flagship project for 2020. It follows the council’s declaration of a Climate Emergency in 2019.
Mobycon was appointed after a competitive procurement process and the company will work with Otley Town Council over the 12 months to produce the StreetVision2030 Vision and Plan.
Cllr Ray Georgeson, Project Lead on StreetVision2030 for the Town Council said: “I am delighted to welcome Mobycon to the project. I have seen at first hand the impact of their work in small towns in the Netherlands and am excited to see how their skills and experience can be brought to our situation in Otley and create a vision we can then start to deliver. We all know that the Climate Emergency has to be a priority, and making it safer and easier for people to leave the car at home and walk or cycle for the short journey will make a significant impact on reducing carbon emissions, improving air quality and making us feel better and healthier. This is an ambitious project and, of course, we will need funds to deliver infrastructure changes, but we must start by determining what we need and what it will cost, and then be bold in trying to secure support for our ambitions, working collaboratively across party and community interests.”
Yorkshire-born Jason Colbeck, Senior Consultant at Mobycon, added: “Our team at Mobycon is delighted to have the opportunity to work with Otley Town Council and the people of Otley to help realise StreetVision2030. Being from Leeds, but now living and working in the Netherlands, I’m inspired by the Dutch approach to creating vibrant, liveable communities that enable people to walk and cycle. Towns and cities across the UK are increasingly recognising the potential that active travel has to help transform our environments to better meet the needs of communities. We look forward to working with the passionate people of Otley to re-imagine their streets and spaces, and to help create a happier, healthier and sustainable future.”
StreetVision2030 commands cross-party and community support.
Cllr Lisa Mulherin, Labour Party Executive Member for Climate Change, Transport and Sustainable Development at Leeds City Council said: “I welcome the initiative being taken in Otley and congratulate the Town Council on establishing this important project. We have shared objectives to tackle the Climate Emergency, make active travel easier for all residents and visitors, and tackle air pollution from vehicles. I look forward to seeing progress and working together on these shared objectives.”
Cllr Mick Bradley, Green Party Town Councillor said: “We are pleased to see progress with StreetVision2030 and are fully supportive of the objectives. Working together to tackle the Climate Emergency now transcends party politics and I look forward to seeing the current vision work becoming a reality on our streets in the near future.”
Liberal Democrat Leeds City Councillors for Otley and Yeadon, Cllrs Colin Campbell, Ryk Downes and Sandy Lay concluded: “We applaud this initiative from the Town Council and will work to ensure that our community is fully involved in the consultations that are planned as the project develops. Everyone gets frustrated with traffic, congestion, delays and parking and yet all of us that need to use our cars daily for short journeys are ourselves that traffic. The Climate Emergency requires us to change, and we can do this carefully in ways that produce real health and environmental benefits for our neighbourhoods. We’ve seen successful projects of this kind in places like Waltham Forest (in London) and Manchester, and we look forward to Otley being the first market town to tackle this issue ambitiously.”
Mobycon will start detailed work in Otley during February and March 2020, surveying streets and assembling and analysing traffic data. An advisory group comprising community and business representatives, Town and City Councillors, and officers will steer the work and support Mobycon in engaging with and consulting residents during Summer 2020, with a final Vision and costed Plan produced and launched in Autumn 2020. Further detailed announcements on the plans and consultations will be made throughout the project.