THE biggest improvement scheme for the A64 for decades reveals that the stretch between Crambe and Musley Bank, west of Malton, could be dualled.

In addition, the area from the Hopgrove roundabout to the Jinnah Restaurant, between York and Malton, is also being put forward to the Department of Transport for improving.

But Julian Rudd, Ryedale District Council’s head of economy, told its policy committee last week that it could take up to 10 years for the two schemes to become a reality.

He said the latest figure for dualling the entire A64 from York to Scarborough was now estimated at £500m and had been deemed “unaffordable”.

English Heritage was concerned about a potential route because of the wealth of archaeological remains, with some of them being of international significance dating back to the Mesolithic age.

Mr Rudd had recommended the committee to support giving £20,250 towards a consultation, which will also be funded by Scarborough Borough Council, North Yorkshire County Council, York City Council and the Highways Agency, as the first step towards a case for investment.

Another location earmarked is the junction from Sand Hutton to the Food, Environment and Rural Affairs campus, where expansion is planned for new businesses.

In addition, Mr Rudd told councillors that a section of the A64 between the Brambling Fields interchange near Norton and Staxton roundabout was also in need of upgrading.

The aim, he said, was to look at future funding scheme, but added work was unlikely to be carried out before 2021. “Major highway infrastructure is important for the area and the A64. An enormous amount of research is needed,” said Mr Rudd.

Councillor Luke Ives said improving the A64 would have the biggest impact of any scheme in terms of economic benefit to Ryedale, but it was vital that the planned report did not gather dust on a shelf.

Deputy council leader Caroline Goodrick said she was enthusiastic and wholeheartedly behind the scheme and urged that public consultation should be carried out. She said: “The A64 scheme will move our economy forward.”

Support for the A64 upgrade came from Anne McIntosh, MP for Thirsk and Malton. She said: “I congratulate the York and North East Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) for agreeing a Memorandum of Understanding with all the councils along the route and for including the A64 in its submission for funding to the Government.”

She said she had written to George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Business Secretary Vince Cable and Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, urging them to award funds urgently to the A64.

The committee unanimously backed the allocation of the fund towards the study report, and for £3,000 on a similar report on creating a cycle route between Malton and Pickering.