Council concedes it should have held public inquiry into Harrogate Station Gateway
Aug 24, 2023
James Street traffic order
The council issued traffic regulation orders without holding a public inquiry.

North Yorkshire Council has conceded it should have held a public inquiry into the £11.2 million Harrogate Station Gateway.

The council halted the scheme last week immediately after lawyers acting on behalf of local property firm Hornbeam Park Developments launched a judicial review.

Lawyers claimed there were six grounds for challenging the council’s decision.

Among them was the council’s failure to hold a public inquiry before issuing traffic regulation orders for measures such as partly pedestrianising James Street and reducing traffic on a 300-metre stretch of Station Parade to single lane.

A decision notice published on the council website this week confirmed it had “quashed” its May decision to proceed with the gateway. It said:

“The possibility of fully defending the legal challenge was considered and to have this mattered determined by the courts.

“However, due to the necessity of having a public inquiry before confirming the relevant traffic regulation order, it was considered prudent to accept this ground of challenge.”

It added the decision would “avoid any further exposure to costs and time delays”.

‘Dead scheme’

A report setting out what happens next is due to go to the conservative-controlled council’s ruling executive on September 19. However, Andrew Jones, the Conservative MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough, has called the gateway a “dead scheme”.

The legal challenge by planning lawyers Walton & Co also claims the council did not disclose a climate change appraisal that said said drivers would be forced to take longer alternative routes as a result of the road changes and overall “user emissions are anticipated to increase as a result of the scheme”.

A spokesperson for Walton & Co said:

“The claimant’s case put forward multiple grounds for challenge. One such ground included the fact that the climate change appraisal had not been made available.

“The claimant maintains that this still amounts to an error in law, and has reserved the right to take issue both with the alleged defective consultation and also other grounds set out in the claim, should a further decision be taken in the absence of such alleged error(s) being rectified.”

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