James Street pedestrianisation would be welcomed, says charity


Last updated Aug 17, 2020
Harrogate Borough Council has asked for James Street to be temporarily pedestrianised.

A Harrogate-based disability charity has said disabled people would welcome a temporary pedestrianisation of James Street in the town.

Disability Action Yorkshire said the move would help to create more space for shoppers, particularly those who use wheelchairs, but added that parking would be an issue.

It comes as Harrogate Borough Council made a request to North Yorkshire County Council to temporarily close to street, which it said would help with social distancing and safety.

The proposals to pedestrianise the street have long being opposed by some traders in the town.

Jackie Snape, chief executive at Disability Action Yorkshire.

But, Jackie Snape, chief executive at Disability Action Yorkshire, said she believed the move would help disabled shoppers.

She said:

“I think it would be welcomed. James Street has quite narrow pavements and for wheelchair users there is more space because it is hard to manoeuvre two metres for social distancing.

“But I think parking would be an issue if you need to park close to the shops.”

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Meanwhile, Scope, a national charity which campaigns to change negative attitudes towards disability, said disabled people should not be left behind in any changes for social distancing.

James Taylor, executive director for strategy, impact and social change at the charity, said:

“We cannot allow disabled people to be forgotten. Local authorities must engage with disabled people about the changes they are making in their communities and fully understand the potential impact before they happen.

“At a national level, the government must factor disabled people’s needs into every step of its coronavirus recovery plan.”

Any closure of James Street would be made by North Yorkshire County Council and Cllr Don Mackenzie, executive county councillor for access, said the authority would respond to the borough council’s request shortly.

It comes as James Street already has suspended parking spaces in order to widen the pavement for social distancing, which were put in place by the county council in May.

But the plan to pedestrianise the street fits into a wider strategy for Harrogate drawn up by the borough council in its 2016 Town Centre Strategy and Masterplan.

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