A blueprint for Harrogate has called for a rethink on a bypass and the introduction of a park and ride scheme.
Retired architect Barry Adams devised the document A Vision for Harrogate with support from business group Independent Harrogate in May as an alternative to the £11.2 million Harrogate Station Gateway.
With new gateway proposals due imminently, Mr Adams has updated the document and says it presents a more joined-up approach to the town’s future than the gateway.
It highlights four fundamental issues. They are: introducing a park and ride; considering a bypass to reduce congestion; smartening up the town’s appearance and the creation of a new masterplan with a coordinated approach to town planning.
The vision says the gateway fails to tackle congestion, adding:
“Despite previous so-called consultations as recently as 2019, the problem of congestion will not be addressed until a bypass or relief road is considered to the west and north of the town linking up at both ends with the existing bypass.
“Even with the increasing number of electric cars and hopefully in the not too distant future the use of hydrogen power this will not automatically reduce the ever increasing levels of congestion.”
To complement this, the document calls for a park and ride “without any further delay”. It adds:
“A high quality sustainable transport system using electric powered buses is a key element to deal with congestion. It is an inclusive vision that would appeal to more people and not discriminate against the majority who cannot or who do not wish to cycle or walk.”
‘No fancy gimmicks needed’
The document goes on to describe Harrogate as “scruffy” and says it needs to be cleaned and tidied better if it is to reclaim its title of ‘the jewel in Yorkshire’s crown’. It says:
“No fancy gimmicks are needed. Harrogate is Harrogate. It has a unique character and ambience of its own.”
The document, which uses East Parade as a town centre cycle route rather than Station Parade, also calls for an end to one-off “pocket planning’ projects like the gateway and the creation of a joined-up masterplan, adding the last one from 2016 is out-of-date. It says:
“Input is essential from the business community with all their knowledge, vast expertise and experience of the town. We may then have some joined up writing when addressing issues and when funding becomes available for identified projects.”
Mr Adams drew up his vision this year as an alternative to the gateway after consulting with Independent Harrogate, Harrogate Residents Association and a residents group in the Granville Road area.
It described the gateway as the ‘wrong scheme at the wrong time”, adding:
“It is not inclusive but purely a highway engineer’s solution with a ‘tinkering’ of urban design as the current proposals demonstrate.
“One that is obsessed with the business of “changing travel patterns and behaviours” to the detriment of much broader concerns such as the visual appeal in the public realm.
“As a result of this lack of design control, we are getting nothing more than a ‘desktop’ design, from consultants with little or no understanding of Harrogate.”
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