The Harrogate Transport Improvement Programme (‘HTIP’) was discussed by North Yorkshire County Councillors today, at the Harrogate & Knaresborough Area Committee meeting.
HTIP was commissioned in October 2019 following the results of the Harrogate Congestion Survey, where there was 77% backing for better walking and cycle routes. HTIP has been kept secret until now.
Consultants WSP have been working on the HTIP. The results of their work are as follows:
- they consider that four priority corridors for cycle route development (contained in the Harrogate Local Cycling Infrastructure Plan) are still appropriate
- they recommend a Low Traffic Neighbourhood in Bilton
- the A59 and A61 should be improved for buses, with bus priority
- the A61 near Pannal would be the best location for a Park & Ride site
- a Killinghall bypass offers ‘high value for money using the DfT’s classifications’; a western relief road offers poor value for money
- a shortlist of five junctions has been identified for work to improve them. WSP recognise that there are limits to the capacity that can be delivered in the face of rising traffic volumes; they therefore recommend ‘a coordinated, multi-modal approach to junction operation, alongside a focus on reducing traffic’
The recommendation from WSP is to develop a major schemes business case, asking for funding from the DfT on a multi-modal corridor basis, with the emphasis on improving provision for pedestrians, cyclists and buses. This should reduce congestion by encouraging modal shift.
WSP also recommend adding a Killinghall bypass to NYCC’s major schemes development list.
At the meeting, HDCA Chair Kevin Douglas made a contribution.
He said he was disappointed there had been no consultation on the HTIP via the Cycle Forum.
He asked what is being done to bring designs for the four cycle routes up to LTN1/20 standards. He also said that while the four routes are welcome, the rest of Harrogate also needs to be considered, including the many locations where housing development is taking place.
He said that the proposal for one single Low Traffic Neighbourhood shows a lack of ambition, and it should be regarded as a pilot, with others added.
Kevin commented that the Killinghall bypass is being discussed before any sustainable travel ideas have been implemented, which is wrong, and that there is a lack of active travel proposals for Killinghall despite the very large amount of housing development. (Councillor Mackenzie later said it is the fastest-growing village in the county, and will double in size).
Kevin asked for a detailed action plan to implement HTIP, with a timetable and key milestones. As a supplementary question, he asked if LTN1/20 will be formally adopted as policy in North Yorkshire.
Green Party & Zero Carbon Harrogate
Other contributors included Rebecca Maunder of the Green Party (her statement was read out), who asked for a whole system approach to making transport sustainable, and who argued against the idea of a Killilnghall bypass.
Rod Beardshall of Zero Carbon Harrogate said that we need a significant acceleration in the rate at which we get sustainable travel impacts on the ground.
He said all non-road solutions should be considered before contemplating a Killinghall bypass. He asked about the cost of a bypass, and the answer from an NYCC officer was £20 million. On the CO2 impact of the proposal there was no response.
Councillor Jim Clark argued that new roads don’t reduce congestion (and there is a great deal of evidence to support that). He pointed out that Harrogate Borough Council had unanimously agreed a Carbon Reduction Plan some time ago, and that ‘we need to get a move on’ in implementing it.
Councillor Michael Harrison, who represents Killinghall, spoke in favour of a new road, and had nothing to say about sustainable travel options. We have previously asked him to act on the requests of Killinghall residents and lead a campaign for cycle routes linking it to Harrogate and the Nidderdale Greenway. We’ve asked him to come up with constructive proposals and organise a meeting with local residents; he hasn’t done so, on the basis that “it would raise expectations of residents unfairly”.
Councillor Richard Cooper spoke in favour of sustainable transport, carbon reduction and pedestrianisation of the town centre. He pointed out the need to be honest with people and not pretend that we can move to sustainable transport and reduce emissions without any impact on the convenience of driving. Cllr Cooper emphasised that we need to take up tarmac used for cars and give it to sustainable travel options whether it be bus, cycling or walking. He added that we cannot ‘con the electorate’ into thinking the council can continue to provide easy driving and free parking.