Harrogate park and ride plans could finally be revealed next year
Last updated Aug 17, 2022
Cllr Keane Duncan, executive councillor for transport at North Yorkshire County Council.
Cllr Keane Duncan has said a study into a Harrogate park and ride service could take six months.

A study looking into a park and ride bus service for Harrogate could finally bring forward proposals next year.

North Yorkshire County Council said feasibility work is underway and should take around six months to assess a scheme which has long been seen as part of the solution to the town’s congestion woes.

Plans would then be produced before a funding bid is made for the service where motorists would park outside Harrogate town centre and get the bus in.

However, it is unclear how much money would be needed and where it would come from as the council said “it is too early to provide costs”.

It was previously suggested that construction costs could exceed £10 million.

Cllr Keane Duncan, executive member for highways and transport at the council, said it was looking at several locations to run the service from and that there were no longer any plans for a trial.

He said: 

“We are actively considering the feasibility of a park and ride for Harrogate and it remains a key priority for us as we work to tackle congestion.

“We expect this will take around six months to complete and then the findings will be used to determine which proposals should be developed into a bid for funding.

“There are no plans for a pilot.”

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More than 100 locations have been examined and the two most promising were last year revealed as land near Pannal Golf Club and the Buttersyke Bar roundabout south of the village.

These were identified as they connect to the 36 bus service which runs between Harrogate, Ripon and Leeds on the A61.

Making use of existing bus routes is a priority for the council as its other park and ride services often run at a financial loss due to the high costs involved.

Harrogate Bus Company runs the 36 service, and Alex Hornby, chief executive of its parent company Transdev Blazefield, said he was happy to support the council in progressing its plans.

Mr Hornby said: 

“The Harrogate Bus Company has long advocated for bus-based park and ride on the A61 – served by the 36 as an existing, high quality bus service – as we believe that will help manage congestion and emissions by reducing car journeys in the town centre.”

Determined to push ahead

The long-awaited progress comes at a worrying time for North Yorkshire’s buses after a bid for £116 million in government cash was rejected before warnings that services are at risk of being axed when other funding comes to an end in October.

The bid to the high-profile Bus Back Better scheme included new bus lanes, other infrastructure improvements and cash to keep services running.

However, it was rejected in its entirety by the Department for Transport which said the bid lacked “sufficient ambition”.

Although funding for a Harrogate park and ride service was not included in the bid, Cllr Duncan stressed the council’s determination to push ahead with the plans.

He said: 

“While we suffered a setback with our Bus Service Improvement Plan bid to the Department for Transport being unsuccessful, we are working to identify potential sites along the A61 corridor and elsewhere in town.

“This will build on the work we’ve already undertaken as part of the Harrogate Transport Improvements Programme study that was completed in 2021.”