Stray Views is a weekly column giving you the chance to have your say on issues affecting the Harrogate district. It is an opinion column and does not reflect the views of the Stray Ferret. See below for details on how to contribute.
Does Marilyn not know about climate change?
Does Marilyn Stowe really not understand? The growth in cycling provision in Leeds or Harrogate is not to provide for the few people that already cycle.
The intention is to persuade a lot more people to cycle. Does she not know about climate change and melting polar ice?
Her article on Stray Ferret is just so incredible.
Andrew Willoughby, Knaresborough
Why prioritise cyclists when Harrogate needs parking?
I wrote to North Yorkshire County Council twice last year about the experiences of towns that have installed harmful, counter-productive cycling lanes and low-traffic neighbourhoods.
I wrote that the planners of those towns might be forgiven for not anticipating how damaging the reality of their schemes was going to be – because there were no precedents. Our councils here have no such excuse, not with the evidence from other towns writ large since 2017.
Throughout five different journeys by car, in and out of town, Monday to Friday last week, I counted 12 cyclists — in mild and sunny weather. We really don’t have many homegrown cyclists – for good reason.
The hills on Harrogate’s town-centre access routes, together with wet and windy weather, discourage cycling for local residents. Dedicated cycling lanes will never change that.
It is different for hobby cyclists. They are mostly the ones to be seen on high days and holidays, often grouped on the roads, identifiable by their distinctive apparel and indifferent to bad weather. They are rarely spotted using our shops and cafes or services.
Are we really going to make changes that prioritise cyclists over our entire population, when our town is in dire need of footfall, residents and visitors to shop and pile goods into their cars, or to drive into town to enjoy cafes and restaurants again? Surely we should be welcoming all comers and that means providing plentiful parking if we are to support the prestigious services and the famous retail heart of Harrogate.
On account of working-from-home there are already fewer cars coming into town, and perhaps fewer cyclists – a trend that may progress. Changes are coming and I think we should wait and see.
Jacky Little, Harrogate
Ripon people have chips on both shoulders
The attitudes expressed by both Harrogate borough councillors Swift and McHardy are insulting to the Scottish Nationalist Party, which exists to promote and advance the people of Scotland, and have nothing at all to do with Harrogate or Ripon.
Councillor McHardy’s response is quite typical of the constant whinging from people in Ripon, which is completely unwilling to accept that in 1974 Ripon was absorbed into the Harrogate district. We fail to see any similar grouses from other towns in the district, such as Knaresborough, Boroughbridge or Pateley Bridge, who seem prepared to work with Harrogate Borough Council to get the best deal for their locality.
Ripon seems to live in the past and many Ripon city councillors, who incidentally are often Harrogate borough councillors and North Yorkshire county councillors too, seem to regularly be elected on the basis of their anti-Harrogate Borough Council attitudes.
It’s often said that Ripon people are well-balanced because they have a chip on both shoulders.
John Edmonstone, Ripon
- Marilyn Stowe: They’ve made a dog’s breakfast of cycle lanes in Leeds
- Ripon grievances ‘like listening to the SNP’, says councillor
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