Harrogate Station Gateway plans now not set to be released until summer
Apr 15, 2024
Station Parade in Harrogate

North Yorkshire Council has said it now does not expect to release plans for the £12.1 million Harrogate Station Gateway until summer.

Work is due to start on the town centre transport scheme in September — even though the full details have not been made public.

The council said previously the plans would be made available in spring.

This prompted Rachael Inchboard, a member of Granville Road Residents’ Association, to submit a freedom of information request to the local authority asking for the plans to be made available urgently so people could have their say. But the council has declined to do so.

Its response, seen by the Stray Ferret, acknowledged the council should be transparent, there was “local interest in the gateway project” and the public should be able to hold the council to account.

But it said the public interest would be met once the council published the information, adding:

“Publishing revisions to plans ahead of schedule would involve duplication of the effort necessary to prepare it for publication and create a significant separate workstream which would detract from the work currently being carried out in its preparation and completion. The information will be published as soon as it is practical to do so.

“There is a public interest in the information being ratified before publication so it can be ensured that the information is accurate. If inaccurate information is published it could cause unnecessary concern.”

The response also indicated the timeframe for releasing the plans had slipped from spring to summer. It said:

“The council intends to present the detailed design alongside the information made available for the Traffic Regulation Order that will be required. This is likely to be in the summer as the TRO requires detailed design to be complete.”

The scheme has been ‘descoped’ after the council admitted its previous plans, which included pedestrianising part of James Street and reducing a stretch of Station Parade to single lane traffic, were legally flawed.

West Yorkshire Combined Authority gave the green light for the revised scheme to proceed last month when it approved the full business case even though a report ahead of the meeting branded it “poor value for money” and said it would “mainly disbenefit highway users”.

Cllr Keane Duncan, the council’s executive member for highways and Conservative candidate to be North Yorkshire mayor, said preparatory work would begin soon after approval was granted.

Some details of the revised scheme have been revealed to the media: they include retaining two lanes of traffic and creating a southbound cycleway on Station Parade, creating a bus lane, junctional signal improvements and improvements to Station Square and the One Arch foot tunnel.

The council’s response to Ms Inchboard said the main elements “are unlikely to change” but “the detail may be subject to change”. It added the detailed design “is currently being progressed”.

Ms Inchboard was disappointed in the response. She said:

“Perhaps they are trying to delay any challenges by informing the public about the gateway plans very close to the deadline.”

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