A Jones MP, by Chris McAndrew, CC BY 3.0
A Jones MP, by Chris McAndrew, CC BY 3.0

Andrew Jones MP has performed an astonishing u-turn on his support for Harrogate Station Gateway.

In June, he was fully behind the project. In August, he no longer supports it at all.

MP’s Support for Harrogate Station Gateway in June 2023

In June 2023, Andrew Jones was fully supportive of Harrogate Station Gateway. He wrote:

‘I think there are issues to iron out though I am pleased [the project] has not stalled nor fallen foul of the often inaccurate and vociferous criticism it has received. Having been roads minister it is important local authorities can show they can deliver projects and this is a big test for North Yorkshire Council (NYC).

In fact this ability to get projects done is measured by the Government on a scale from one to four. NYC, sadly though perhaps unsurprisingly to some, has a one rating though Station Gateway will boost this to a two or perhaps even a three. This in turn helps their chances of accessing more Government funding. The business case will go to West Yorkshire Combined Authority in September and I hope construction will begin at the earliest opportunity. As the councillors noted we have done enough talking. It is time for some doing.’

andrew jones in june 2023 before his astounding u-turn

Mr Jones’s Transformation to an Opponent of the Scheme by August 2023

Two months later, Mr Jones’s view of Harrogate Station Gateway was unrecognisable. He told the Stray Ferret:

‘The key consideration is that the latest challenge [judicial review] means that the deadline to spend the cash allocated to this area is certain to expire. It is time therefore to stop spending public money trying to drag what is effectively a timed-out dead scheme – the good parts regrettably and the bad too – over the line.

The council must start talking to government about retaining the funding and re-positioning it to other projects in Harrogate and Knaresborough. I am happy to help with that prcess.’

andrew jones mp in august 2023 after his astounding u-turn

The problems with this statement include:

  • if Station Gateway is timed out, why would “other projects” not also be timed out?
  • other unspecified projects would undoubtedly take far longer than Station Gateway, which has been worked up over a period of 3 years and is ready to go
  • what are these “other projects”?
  • is there any reason to believe that NYC can deliver “other projects” if it cannot deliver Station Gateway?
  • there is no evidence that Mr Jones has been of any help with any active travel projects in Harrogate to date. Why should anyone believe that he can of help now?

Mr Jones’s own words from June 2023 – about stopping talking and starting doing, and showing that NYC can deliver a project – represent a damning indictment of his new position as an opponent of Station Gateway in August 2023.

Andrew Jones MP U-Turns on Support for Harrogate Station Gateway

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