Harrogate Congestion Consultation
Traffic congestion in Harrogate has been a cause for concern for a number of years but 26 options to address this issue were put forward for public consultation, providing an opportunity for everyone to have a say.
More than 15,500 responses were received to the County Council’s survey and possible next steps have been outlined taking these into account. In total, 84% of respondents said they did view traffic congestion as an issue in Harrogate and Knaresborough and 78% of respondents did not support the option of an inner relief road between Harrogate and Knaresborough. For that reason, the report recommends that this proposal should not be taken further at this time. Based on local responses, the report suggests further consideration of a bypass for Killinghall and a possible link from the B6162 Otley Road to the A61 Leeds Road.
After more than a year of discussions, meetings and two separate consultants reports, North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) has decided to put out a range of 26 options to address traffic congestion in Harrogate, to a full public consultation, set to start in a matter of weeks.
These options not only include measures to discourage car use in Harrogate but also the possibility of a new relief road near Nidd Gorge, even though the latter is firmly opposed by Harrogate and Knaresborough MP and Transport Minister Andrew Jones, and by Harrogate councillors, including the Harrogate Borough Council leader, on the grounds that these options offer no solution to town centre congestion.
The 26 options have been grouped into two packages labelled B and E (packages A, C and D were discounted earlier in the process).
This has a number of measures not included in package E which would reduce traffic in our district, improve the air we breathe and our quality of life. It would enhance our urban environment and preserve our rural environment, benefiting residents and attracting visitors. It also has the support of the overwhelming majority of elected representatives and wide cross party political support.
This package also contains some of the most effective actions to help reduce carbon emissions in Harrogate.
This has a less ambitious set of sustainable measures and one glaringly unsustainable measure in the form of a large new road, which would cut through the precious open green space between Harrogate and Knaresborough, irreversibly destroying the area of Nidd Gorge and the Nidderdale Greenway.
A relief road would seem to be a very expensive, destructive and illogical proposal for tackling local congestion in our town, given that only 7% of traffic is through-traffic.
This package is also the higher carbon option and is likely to lead to an increase in traffic due to the increase attractiveness of the A59 to through-traffic.
Which One to Choose?
We strongly recommend Package B, as it offers a range of viable and sustainable options that can be effective across a range of activities and diverse groups, rather than relying quite so heavily on motorists.
Overall Package E is far less attractive but it does contain options that are well worth considering, that are not included in Package B. It may be possible to adopt these options based on the support they receive during the consultation period.
We must ensure that the package chosen, following consultation, is as effective as possible in reducing congestion, whilst protecting our local environment and the benefits we enjoy from it, in terms of its natural beauty, leisure potential and impact on our health and wellbeing.
The consultation process is due to start in March, following which a decision will be taken on which options to develop further, based on the results. Don't miss this opportunity
See all 26 Options here