Scarborough Council has “regretfully” agreed to contribute £150,000 to a £4 million plan to upgrade four gridlocked junctions in the town.
The borough and North Yorkshire County Council will both commit the matching sum to bid to the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Local Enterprise Partnership in the hope of securing funding to improve congestion.
However, borough councillors expressed confusion and concern about being asked to contribute to road improvements, which falls under the remit of the county council.
The areas would benefit from the £3.875 million scheme are the junctions of Stepney Road and Stepney Drive, Scalby Road and Manor Road, Scalby Road and Stepney Drive, and Scalby Road and Falsgrave Road.
On Monday, Scarborough Council’s full member meeting approved its share of the payment, but the authority’s leader, Cllr Derek Bastiman (Con) said he asked the councillors to do so “regretfully.”
Cllr Bastiman said: “For the economy of the borough, and it does go against the grain for me I’ll be honest as a county councillor, I have to stand here today as leader of this authority and support the contribution of £150,000.”
Cabinet member Cllr Mike Cockerill (ind) earlier told the meeting he “had yet to be convinced” why the borough should contribute to something that “is clearly a [county council] Highways matter.”
Cllr Godfrey Allanson (Con) also voted against the motion, saying he feared that if the borough paid in this case that the county council could then start asking parish and town councils to contribute to road repairs in their areas.
Councillors also had concerns about the environmental impact of widening some of the junctions.
Green Party leader Cllr Mark Vesey said: “We cannot continue to add cars to our roads without putting some major investment into pollution offsettings, such as green walls and street trees.”
Fellow Green councillor and Deputy Mayor Dilys Cluer added: “I have yet to be convinced that any works of the scale proposed to these junctions are a good idea. We should, these days, be thinking of reducing traffic not accommodating it.”
However, Falsgrave ward councillor Liz Colling (Lab) said improvements were needed.
She said: “Can I please stress that we are desperate for some of these works to be done.
“As I’m sure you know the junction of Scalby Road and Falsgrave Road there is standing traffic there and the pollution is extraordinary and children and adults should not be breathing that.”
The proposed works include the widening of existing roundabouts and approach lanes, new and altered signals and changes to roads in the areas of the junctions.
A decision on whether the funding bid has been successful is expected in December.