A group representing 187 Harrogate businesses has expressed concern the proposed £7.9 million Station Gateway could damage the local economy.
But it added Harrogate’s hospitality and retail sector was in a ‘fragile and critical state’ and it had ‘serious concerns’ about the scheme’s economic impact.
Robert Ogden, writing on behalf of Independent Harrogate, said it therefore opposed plans to reduce traffic on Station Parade to one lane, or to pedestrianise James Street. He added the group believed East Parade to be the best location for cycling lanes.
The submission said the town needed an updated infrastructure masterplan rather than ‘pocket planning’. Such a plan should include park and ride schemes, numerous electric car charging points and extensive cycling routes, it added.
It said Harrogate Borough Council‘s current masterplan, devised in 2016, was out of date and doesn’t cater for outlying villages, which don’t have regular bus services and don’t benefit from the focus on cycling. The submission said:
“Both North Yorkshire County Council and Harrogate Borough Council are effectively discriminating against village residents and creating a playground for Harrogate residents only, many of whom will happily get into their cars and drive to work in Leeds and other areas.”
- Harrogate Civic Society calls for Station Gateway to remain two lanes
- Call for public to engage with Harrogate Station Gateway plans
The submission said Independent Harrogate was not anti-cycling, adding it would support initiatives such as Cycling Sundays, whereby some central Harrogate streets were closed to traffic to encourage walking and cycling. It added:
“This cautious approach would help gauge the appetite for cycling in Harrogate without too much detrimental economic impact.”
But overall it said town centre visitors arriving by car ‘need easy access and somewhere convenient and close to the shops/cafes/restaurants to park’, adding:
“To ignore the considerable income that visitors bring will be hugely damaging and they should not be excluded from any surveys, which sadly appears to be the case at the moment.”
The government’s Transforming Cities Fund has provided funding for the gateway project, to improve the design of the town and encourage more sustainable transport.
North Yorkshire County Council, Harrogate Borough Council and West Yorkshire Combined Authority are delivering the initiative.
Read the full letter from Independent Harrogate here.