Judicial review launched against £11.2m Harrogate Station Gateway
Last updated Aug 14, 2023
The Harrogate Station Gateway scheme.
Station Parade would be reduced to single lane traffic.

A judicial review has today been launched against the £11.2 million Harrogate Station Gateway scheme.

Planning lawyers have been instructed by Hornbeam Park Developments to challenge North Yorkshire Council‘s decision-making on several grounds.

They include the council’s alleged failure to disclose documents relating to climate change, and a failure to properly consult upon the scheme as a result.

The judicial review threatens to de-rail the controversial scheme, which would see James Street partly pedestrianised and a 300-metre section of Station Parade reduced to single lane traffic to make way for new cycling routes.

A spokesperson for Hornbeam Park Developments said:

“Residents deserve to be fully informed on a major scheme with significant environmental and economic impact on our town.

“This judicial review challenges the decision-making process and lack of crucial information provided to the public as part of previous consultations.

“The impact of this disastrous scheme will be felt across the district, but specifically on the businesses on James Street, and residents nearby. These groups should be confident the correct processes and information was provided to help inform the public. Our investigations show this is not the case, so we are challenging this”.

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Councillors approved plans to proceed with the gateway in May.

Most Liberal Democrat and all Conservative councillors on North Yorkshire Council’s Harrogate and Knaresborough area constituency committee supported the scheme although the Liberal Democrats later withdrew support.

Latest Station Gateway visuals which show Harrogate's James Street pedestrianised.

How James Street would look.

A statement sent today on behalf of Hornbeam Park Developments said the scheme “has proved unpopular with the majority of residents and local businesses due to potential impact on the local economy and on town centre congestion due to increased waiting times throughout the day”.

It adds:

“Redirected traffic from the town centre gyratory could also make residential streets nearby less pedestrian friendly, fuelling concerns across the town centre.”

Key climate data not released  

Today’s legal challenge claims a council-commissioned climate change appraisal, which concludes the scheme is predicted to result in an increase in 1,356 tonnes of CO2e over its lifetime, was not made available during public consultation or taken into account by the council when it decided to go ahead.

Instead, consultation materials indicated the initiative would be beneficial in terms of climate change.

The judicial review also claims a plan showing proposals for traffic regulation orders on highways such as James Street was incorrect and should have triggered a public inquiry.

The spokesperson continued:

“The decision to omit the damning independent analysis into the predicted carbon emissions of this scheme will contribute during public consultation is shocking.

“In this climate emergency, information around environmentally damaging schemes should be front-and-centre to help people appraise the scheme.

“Instead, we have a document which states that the reduction of Station Parade to one lane and the part-time pedestrianisation of James Street will reduce general traffic capacity and force drivers onto longer alternative routes – predicted to result in an increase in 1,356 tonnes of CO2e over the project’s lifetime.

“Everyone in the town wants to see improvements to the area, but it needs to have a democratic mandate that we can all get behind, and be fully thought through.”

North Yorkshire Council has been approached for comment.