Pedestrianisation of James Street, a single lane on Station Parade and more cycle facilities could be lined up for Harrogate town centre, under new council plans.
It comes as North Yorkshire County Council and Harrogate Borough Council are set to consult on proposals for the town’s “station gateway” project.
The county council secured £7.8 million in funding from the government’s Transforming Cities Fund last year to draw up plans to improve transport connections, encourage more people to walk and cycle and improve the image of the town centre.
A four-week public consultation on the project will start on Wednesday (February 24).
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Cllr Don Mackenzie, executive county councillor for access, told a press briefing this morning that the scheme would also provide an “economic boost” for the area.
As part of the consultation, the public and businesses will be asked for their views on three options for James Street.
- Pedestrianise the area
- Part pedestrianise the street
- Retain vehicle access
Other schemes which will be consulted on include one or two lanes on Station Parade and public event space at Station Square Gardens.
Cycle storage facilities, two new bus priority areas at lower Station Parade and Cheltenham Parade, and a water feature are also proposed.
Plans to temporarily pedestrianise James Street last year were criticised by local businesses and led to the county council postponing the measure until 2021.
Cllr Phil Ireland, cabinet member for carbon reduction and sustainability at Harrogate Borough Council, said the new schemes would be vital for the town.
“This is an extremely important scheme for the town, which we view as a solid foundation for change, particularly towards active travel.”
Cllr Ireland added that he hoped the plans would help people who come to the town to “feel more comfortable to get around safely”.
Plans for a ‘station gateway’ have been in the works for several years and fit into a wider strategy for Harrogate drawn up by the borough council in its 2016 Town Centre Strategy and Masterplan.
Cllr Mackenzie said the proposals were particularly important due to the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on town centres.
“It is extremely appropriate that we are looking to develop three schemes which will provide better facilities for pedestrians, for cyclists and better connections to bus and trains.
“But it will provide an enormous economic boost for our town centres, which frankly over the past 12 months have suffered a great deal.”
It comes as similar projects have been outlined for Selby and Skipton. Final designs and construction for the schemes are earmarked for spring next year.
People can give their views on the schemes in the online consultation from Wednesday here.