Cyclists brand scaled-back Harrogate gateway plans a ‘huge disappointment’
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Last updated Dec 4, 2023
A computer visualisation of part of the Harrogate Station Gateway scheme, with large red x's over elements that have been scrapped.
HDCA issued images of parts of the Harrogate Station Gateway scheme, with large red x's over elements that have been scrapped.

Cycling campaigners have described North Yorkshire Council’s scaled-back plans for Harrogate’s station gateway as a “huge disappointment”. 

The plans originally envisioned a radical transformation of the town centre’s main thoroughfare, with traffic on Station Parade reduced to one lane to allow for cycle lanes, as well as the part-pedestrianisation of James Street and a cycle-friendly Dutch-style roundabout at the junction of Station Bridge and East Parade. 

But a legal challenge by Hornbeam Park Developments put a stop to the scheme, and those elements have now been dropped. 

The revised scheme may now only include a redeveloped One Arch and Station Square, better traffic signals, a bus lane on lower Station Parade, new paving for pedestrians and cycling parking at Harrogate railway station. 

A computer visualisation of part of the Harrogate Station Gateway scheme, with large red x's over elements that have been scrapped.

Several of the scheme’s major elements have been scrapped.

In a statement, Harrogate District Cycle Action (HDCA) said: 

“From a cycling point of view, most of the worthwhile elements have been stripped out of the scheme. 

“If cycle parking had been proposed on its own, we would have supported it. If cycle parking is all that’s left of what was an ambitious scheme which would also have enabled people to reach the station by bike in safety and comfort, it will inevitably be a huge disappointment.” 

The Harrogate scheme is one of three in North Yorkshire – the others are in Skipton and Selby – that are being developed with £42 million from the government’s Transforming Cities Fund (TCF). 

The TCF is a £2.45 billion capital grant fund aimed at driving up productivity through investments in public and sustainable transport infrastructure in England. 

HDCA was also critical of some of the elements of the scheme which will remain, such as the coordination of traffic lights, which it said would only benefit motorists. 

It said: 

“Driving is, by definition, unsustainable transport, and in our view TCF money should not be spent on this. 

“Five sets of lights are coordinated along West Park/Parliament Street. What is the effect for pedestrians? Extremely long wait times.  

“To see the long wait times at the prestige town centre location outside Bettys is shameful. We can expect the same thing on Station Parade.” 

A computer visualisation of part of the Harrogate Station Gateway scheme, with a large red x over the Dutch-style roundabout, which has been scrapped.

The proposal for a Dutch-style roundabout at the junction of Station Bridge and East Parade has been scrapped.

HDCA member Malcolm Margolis, who was awarded the British Empire Medal in 2019 for services to cycling in Harrogate, said the gutting of the station gateway scheme meant it now fell far short of its original aims. 

He said: 

“The main way that Station Gateway could have made Harrogate a better place to live was by reducing the dominance of motor vehicles – and the noise, danger and pollution that they cause – in the town centre, by reducing Station Parade to one lane. 

“It seems that is now not going to happen, so TCF will not have a transformative effect on Harrogate, whatever the final details. 

“The most disappointing aspect of all is that it is proposed to spend sustainable transport funding to prioritise cars.” 

The council must now undertake more public consultation, publish updated Traffic Regulation Orders and submit a new business case to West Yorkshire Combined Authority, which won the initial funding. It expects this process to take another five months. 

If the business case is approved next summer, work on the scheme could begin by autumn 2024, but that will not leave much time for its construction. 

The Department for Transport has previously insisted that all projects must be built before March 2025.


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