James Street pedestrianisation ‘timely and appropriate’, says council


Aug 25, 2020
James Street has been earmarked to be temporarily pedestrianised.

County council bosses have said a move to temporarily pedestrianise James Street in Harrogate is “timely and appropriate”.

It comes as the county council lent its support for a temporary pedestrianisation of the street, which could be in place as early as next month, but has faced opposition from some businesses and landlords.

Harrogate Borough Council requested the measure for “social distancing and safety purposes”. The move was then backed by Don Mackenzie, executive county councillor for access.

But business owners and landlords on the street, including ex-Leeds United star Danny Mills, have since opposed the decision and described it as “damaging”.

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Now, Cllr Mackenzie has defended the decision and said that the move is an experiment after the borough council requested a full closure.

He said:

“NYCC is aware of the views expressed by some owners of James Street businesses who are opposed to plans to pedestrianise James Street.

“We wish to remind all business owners that, in response to the request from Harrogate Borough Council for full closure of James Street, the county council has indicated that it is willing to introduce as an experiment a temporary closure of a section of the street between 10am and 4.30pm each day.

“Such closures are being supported by the Department of Transport and are proving popular in various parts of the country both with residents and with local businesses. We believe, therefore, that our proposed trial closure is both timely and appropriate.”

Harrogate Borough Council has also been approached for comment, but had not responded at the time of publication.

It comes as Mr Mills wrote to both county council leader, Carl Les, and borough council leader, Richard Cooper, calling for an urgent rethink of the decision.

Mr Mills, who has lived in Harrogate for 20 years and owns four properties on James Street, described the move as “very damaging” and said businesses needed all the help they can get.

Nick Hubbert is the general manager at Hoopers.

Meanwhile, the general manager at Hoopers, Nick Hubbert, also wrote to the borough council regarding pedestrianisation.

Mr Hubbert told the Stray Ferret that he does not believe that the temporary pedestrianisation of James Street will help businesses and said he based that on years of experience.

He added that he is not against pedestrianisation long term, but he does not think that the middle of a pandemic is the right time to change things.

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