Council quashes hopes of west Harrogate bypass
Last updated Dec 1, 2023
Cllr Keane Duncan (left) and Cllr John Mann

North Yorkshire Council has no plans to build a western bypass in Harrogate, with one councillor saying the move would “reopen old wounds”.

Business group Independent Harrogate published a document this month called A Vision for Harrogate that set out an alternative course of action for the controversial £11.2m Station Gateway scheme.

The document, written by retired architect Barry Adams, also puts forward suggestions to tackle congestion, such as establishing a park and ride scheme and building a western bypass.

A bypass proposal has been debated for decades, with Independent Harrogate arguing it could be key to link west and north Harrogate and reduce congestion.

Cllr John Mann, the Conservative councillor for Oatlands and Pannal, asked Cllr Keane Duncan, the council’s executive member for highways, if North Yorkshire Council would commit to building the bypass as a long-term project.

Cllr Mann said:

“I do know that congestion in Pannal and Oatlands would be much relieved if a relief road would be constructed.

“I think there’s merit in the idea, as we’ve only built 700 out of 4,000 scheduled homes for western Harrogate.

“Congestion is already quite severe and dangerous to motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.”

However, Cllr Duncan poured cold water on the idea and said the council’s predecessor, North Yorkshire County Council, held a widely publicised consultation about congestion in 2019, which rejected more roads being built in favour of sustainable travel, like improved cycling or walking routes.

The council abandoned unpopular plans to build a relief road by the Nidd Gorge following the consultation.

Cllr Duncan said:

“The results resoundingly favoured sustainable transport and demanded management solutions to congestion rather than the provision of new roads. The council then determined to respect that outcome and the council does not now plan to reopen old wounds.”

The council is working on a document called the Harrogate Transport Improvement Programme that will set out improvements to walking, cycling and bus infrastructure.

A report is expected in spring 2024.

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