North Yorkshire councillors back £11.2m Harrogate Station Gateway project
May 30, 2023
Latest Station Gateway visuals which show Harrogate's James Street pedestrianised.

Senior North Yorkshire councillors have backed plans to submit a full business case for the £11.2 million Harrogate Station Gateway scheme.

North Yorkshire Council’s executive met this morning and voted unanimously to approve the plan, which moves the project a step closer.

Harrogate and Knaresborough councillors voted to support it at a meeting on May 5.

Today’s decision means a 300-metre stretch of Station Parade will be reduced to single lane traffic and James Street partly pedestrianised to encourage cycling and walking.

Station Square will undergo a major overhaul, with the ‘little temple’ outside Victoria Shopping Centre destroyed.

Cllr Keane Duncan, Conservative executive councillor for highways, said today that work on the project is expected to start in winter this year.

However, Cllr Pat Marsh, Liberal Democrat chair of the Harrogate and Knaresborough Area Constituency Committee, urged the councillors not to go-ahead with the project.

She said:

“Do not go forward with this scheme. This scheme starts nowhere and goes nowhere.”

Read more:

Meanwhile, Cllr Duncan confirmed that the council had received a 2,000-signature petition objecting to the plan.

Liberal Democrat Cllr Chris Aldred, who represents High Harrogate and Kingsley, said there had been “a lot of hyperbole” about the scheme. He called for councillors to “focus on the actuality”.

He said:

“The scheme as described does have some benefits.

“I think I am right in saying that there is a small carbon gain.”

Cllr Aldred called for the council to “talk with residents and businesses” when implementing the project.

Meanwhile, Conservative Cllr Sam Gibbs, who represents Valley Gardens and Central Harrogate, said while the scheme did divide opinion, he felt it should be progressed.

He said:

“I am here to get on with this scheme. We cannot kick this down the road any longer.”

The move comes as Karl Battersby, the council’s corporate director of environment, said in a report that the project would arrest town centre decline by increasing footfall, even though many businesses remain opposed.

There are also concerns about other aspects of the scheme, including congestion and parking, and the impact on the town centre during construction.

But Mr Battersby suggested the gateway could be the start of a wider town centre redevelopment. His report said the project will “provide a central active travel ‘hub’ from which ‘spokes’ of further improvements can radiate”.

However, Mr Battersby also warned that if the final cost exceeds budget, savings would be made by either reviewing the materials or “descoping” the project.