A PLANNED new cycle route between Malton and Pickering was given a boost when the district council approved £75,000 to develop the project.

At a meeting of full council on Thursday, members voted unanimously to hire consultants to take the plans forward.

The authority will then also apply to the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) tourism infrastructure fund for additional money. Councillor Luke Ives, introducing the motion, said: “There is no guarantee of success, but the chance of success is higher now than ever.

“Having carefully considered this item, I have decided to give it my full support. It will be a fantastic project if it did go ahead.”

The current proposal, drafted by the charity Sustrans in partnership with the district and county councils, suggests a route linked to the National Cycle Network route 166 (Yorkshire Wolds Cycle Route) up through Norton and Malton, past the railway station, and then north to Pickering via small lanes and bridleways. In its report Sustrans said: “One of the principal reasons for developing the route is to help people make every day journeys by bike.

“This may be to work, school, shops, the train station and other local amenities.

“An increase in cycling can bring many benefits including health, financial, environmental and easing congestion.”

Councillors across the board were positive about the plans.

Cllr Michael Cleary, who is chairman of the Ryedale Cycle Forum, said that better cycling provision will bring a range of benefits, including to the tourism economy in the area.

“More and more people are cycling,” he said. “What may be a massive cost will, I believe, become a valuable asset.”

Cllr Lindsay Burr said: “It will help with wellbeing, fitness and in tackling obesity. If we have a lovely cycle path it can only benefit the area.”

Cllr Mike Potter added: “I would like to see this as a serious piece of partnership work. Cycling provision in Ryedale is currently all but non-existent - there is nothing on the main routes between the market towns.”

Members voted for the proposal unanimously.