Harrogate Station Gateway
Harrogate Station Gateway

North Yorkshire Council (NYC) Executive considered Harrogate Station Gateway very briefly at their meeting yesterday, 19th September 2023.

We made a statement – or rather we should have done. NYC accepted it and promised to read it out:

‘Thank you for your public participation submission and the interest you have shown in the coming meeting for the Executive on 19 September 2023. I can confirm your submission has been accepted and will be read out at the meeting on your behalf, as requested.’

nyc in advance of the executive meeting

In the event, the Executive claimed to be expecting us to appear in person, and did not read out the statement.

The main points made in the statement are as follows.

Judicial Review and Democratic Process

A private company is entitled to ensure that the council has followed the correct procedures through judicial review, as Hornbeam Park Developments Ltd has done.

On the other hand, a private company is not entitled to decide council transport policy. Transport policy should be decided by the council through the democratic process and in the public interest.

The Executive made clear at its meeting on 30th May 2023 that it was committed to the ambitious Station Gateway scheme as designed by the Transforming Cities Fund team. It should uphold that commitment rather than designing a scheme specifically to appease the applicant for judicial review.

The risk now is that NYC will try to go ahead with a scheme so stripped of ambition as to be a homeopathic version of the original.

Aims of the Transforming Cities Fund

Objectives of TCF according to the 2019 bid
Objectives of TCF according to the 2019 bid

The aims of TCF funding are to:

  • improve public transport and active travel options
  • take a significant number of car trips off the road
  • contribute to jobs and the economy
  • support connectivity to housing and employment sites and
  • tackle inequality

This is a paragraph from the bid letter signed by NYC Council Leader Carl Les in 2019:

Paragraph from the 2019 TCF bid letter
Paragraph from the 2019 TCF bid letter

Note that the funding is to promote public transport, walking and cycling, and to tackle inequality and the climate emergency.

Options Before the Executive

The first option before the Executive at the meeting on 19th September 2023 involves:

  • changing the traffic lights to enable more motor traffic to go along Station Parade faster
  • different paving stones on the pedestrian areas and
  • no cycle infrastructure at all

This amounts to prettifying the status quo.

Summary Principle 7 of Cycle Infrastructure Design
Summary Principle 7 of Cycle Infrastructure Design

The first option would not meet the objectives of the Transforming Cities Fund.

It would let down the people who asked for better cycling and walking facilities in the 2019 Congestion Survey.

Harrogate Congestion Survey
Harrogate Congestion Survey, walking and cycling answer

It would also let down the 832 people who said in the 3rd Station Gateway consultation that the proposed walking and cycling infrastructure would have a positive effect on their travel, vs 743 people who said that it would be negative.

Effect of active travel infrastructure on your travel round town
Effect of active travel infrastructure on your travel round town

Message to the Executive

Our message to the Executive is that we understand that it isn’t easy to deliver this scheme, but they should remain committed to it.

The scheme as originally designed meets the objectives of the Transforming Cities Fund, which Council Leader Carl Les signed up to in 2019.

It also makes a start on achieving the transport decarbonisation goals in the Routemap to Carbon Negative.

We are relying on you the Executive to deliver:

  • a transformative scheme, not a ‘nothing’ scheme that prettifies the status quo
  • a scheme that prioritises active travel and public transport, not a scheme focused on motor vehicles
  • a scheme that tackles inequality, not a scheme tailored to the demands of the very richest in local society
North Yorkshire Considers Homeopathic Version of Harrogate Station Gateway

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