‘Save the Station Gateway!’: Harrogate cycling campaigner issues plea
Sep 14, 2023
Malcolm Margolis fears cycling will be dropped from new plans for the gateway scheme.

Cycling campaigner Malcolm Margolis has appealed to councillors to save Harrogate’s under-threat £11.2m Station Gateway.

It follows the publication of a report ahead of a meeting of North Yorkshire Council‘s Conservative-run executive on Tuesday, which says the council may now focus on the most popular aspects of the scheme to get it back on track.

However, the report does not mention active travel or cycling and the council could still decide to abandon the project altogether.

The original plans included reducing a 300-metre stretch of Station Parade to single-lane traffic to make space for cycle lanes, part-pedestrianising James Street and overhauling Station Square.

The council paused work on the project last month due to a legal challenge from Hornbeam Park Developments.

Mr Margolis spoke on behalf of Harrogate District Cycle Action campaign group at a meeting of the council’s Harrogate and Knaresborough area constituency committee today.

He said:

“We are asking you for the good of our town to save Harrogate Station Gateway. Along with many others, we think the plans are very beneficial.

“Some of you think the same, others don’t. You agree with some key elements but not others such as making Station Parade one-way or part-pedestrianising James Street.”

Mr Margolis said scrapping the scheme or removing the active travel elements risked damaging the council’s reputation with government “for years to come”. when it came to winning active travel funding.

Other failed bids

He referred to other failed bids, including for cycle lanes on Victoria Avenue and Knaresborough Road, the scrapping of cycle lanes on Oatlands Drive and Otley Road as well as the decision to discontinue the Beech Grove Low-Traffic Neighbourhood.

Mr Margolis warned the council would be doing a “massive disservice” to Harrogate’s residents if the Station Gateway funding is not used.

Read more:

The campaigner also read out a letter he received from Conservative MP Andrew Jones in June 2023 when he described the project a “big test” for North Yorkshire Council to show that it can deliver projects. Mr Jones said the scheme had been the subject of “often inaccurate and vociferous criticism”.

However, after the judicial review was submitted by Hornbeam Park Developments in August, Mr Jones called the Station Gateway a “timed-out dead scheme”.

North Yorkshire Council officer Mark Codman read out a statement in response to Mr Margolis.

He said:

“The committee notes the statement from Harrogate District Cycle Action.

“The project is being considered by the executive on September 19 and area constituency committee members will be able to consider the next steps as appropriate at the executive meeting.”