Map showing the phases of Otley Road Cycleway
Map showing the phases of Otley Road Cycleway

HAPARA, the Harlow and Pannal Ash Residents’ Association, is seeking local residents’ views on Phase 3 of the Otley Road Cycleway.

In an update email to people on its mailing list, HAPARA drew attention to their flier on the subject of Phase 3 of the Otley Road Cycleway. Unfortunately, from the flier it appears that the individuals in charge of HAPARA have already made up their minds, and are hostile to the proposed cycleway.

Nevertheless, you can contact HAPARA by email – – and tell them that you support Phase 3 of the Otley Road Cycleway.

Suggested Response to HAPARA

This is our suggested response to HAPARA. Please feel free to amend it and add your own comments.


I support plans for Phase 3 of Otley Road Cycleway. It is vital that there is a sustainable transport link to new developments beyond Harlow Carr.

The design should be to the best possible standards, with a footway and separate two-way cycle track.

There is no need to cut down any trees in order to build a cycleway. If the council intends to cut down trees, this is due to road-widening to create right turn lanes at junctions. The road-widening plans should be stopped.

In order to create a coherent route to the town centre, the council also needs to build Phase 2 of the cycleway (Cold Bath Road to Beech Grove) and install a high-quality scheme on Beech Grove.

suggested email to

HAPARA’s Flier

HAPARA’s flier sets out arguments against building cycle facilities on Otley Road, and appears to be inviting people to oppose Phase 3 of the cycleway.

HAPARA’s main points follow, together with the reasons why their arguments are flawed.

1) HAPARA’s Claim that there Was ‘a Strong Negative Public Response’ to the Consultation on Phase 2

HAPARA claims that:

‘Phase 2 of the Otley Road cycle path was cancelled in 2023 following the strong negative public response’.

claim in hapara’s flier

That claim is inaccurate. In reality, of the respondents who expressed a view:

  • 104 were in favour of an Otley Road scheme and
  • 83 were against

2) HAPARA’s Claim that Construction of the Cycleway Will Result in the Loss of 5 Trees at the Beckwith Road Junction

I believe it is also inaccurate to claim that building Phase of the cycleway would result in a loss of trees at the Beckwith Road junction.

There is no need for any trees to be lost in order to create Phase 3 of the Otley Road Cycleway – see the measurements in this document.

If trees are to be cut down at the Beckwith Road junction, my understanding is – and I am happy to be corrected on this if I’m mistaken – that it would be because North Yorkshire Council (NYC) and the housing developers want to widen the road for motor vehicles in order to create right-turn lanes.

3) HAPARA’s Claim that Shared Use Satisfies LTN 1/20 Cycle Infrastructure Design Guidance

Summary Principle 2, LTN 1/20
Summary Principle 2, LTN 1/20

HAPARA says that Phase 3 of the cycleway is to be a 3m shared use path. In its flier it makes a qualified claim that this satisfies the official guidance.

‘Whilst phase 3 will satisfy the official guidance LTN 1/20, it needs to be noted that this states that a shared option should only be used for small sections where absolutely necessary. Were this to be pursued with a two-way segregated facility, this would involve the loss of even more green landscape’.

hapara’s claim about the proposed cycleway and ltn 1/20

Summary Principle 2 of LTN 1/20 says that shared use facilities may be appropriate ‘away from streets’ ‘in locations such as canal towpaths, paths through housing estates, parks and other green spaces’.

Otley Road is not a towpath, nor a housing estate or park, and shared use is therefore not appropriate according to the guidance.

4) HAPARA’s Complaints About Loss of Grass

HAPARA complains about a loss of grass in relation to the cycleway.

‘There will be an approximate 1.5m strip of grass verge lost along the entire length of Phase 3 – a noticeable loss of green landscape. All at a time when the talk is about climate change and the need to conserve such natural infrastructure to the greatest possible extent. Pedestrian facility will also be compromised’.

HAPARA’s complaints about loss of grass

Grass will be lost so that all the new houses can be built on what was previously fields. Is HAPARA complaining about this loss of grass? Not in their flier.

Grass will be lost so that NYC can widen the road to create extra lanes for motor vehicles at junctions. Is HAPARA complaining about this loss of grass? Not in their flier.

Apparently grass is only sacrosanct when it is proposed to replace it with a cycle track; otherwise, it can be removed, no problem. This is indicative of HAPARA’s fundamentally anti-cycling stance.

5) HAPARA’s Use of Climate Change as an Argument Against Sustainable Transport Facilities

HAPARA talks about climate change, and bizarrely says it is reason not to build a cycleway.

Transport is the biggest single source of greenhouse gas emissions (28% of the UK total), yet HAPARA is seeking to use climate change to undermine the case for sustainable transport options to new housing developments.

That is very odd.

Similarly, complaining about pedestrian facilities being compromised while opposing proper separate cycle facilities is also strange logic.

6) HAPARA’s Claims about ‘the Existing Network of Cycle Paths’

HAPARA’s flier states:

‘If the intention is to get more people cycling, which is a perfectly sensible aim, this scheme seems to be an expensive way of delivering the objective. Perhaps a better option would be to publicise the existing network of cycle paths to a greater extent’.

hapara’s claim about ‘the existing network of cycle paths’

This is another misleading passage in the flier.

Otley Road is very busy, and hostile to cycling. What alternative cycle route does HAPARA believe there is from Windmill Farm to the town centre, as part of ‘the existing network of cycle paths’? There isn’t one.

What cycle routes should children living in the future developments beyond Harlow Carr use to get to Harrogate Grammar School? There aren’t any.

Riding in traffic on Otley Road itself is not an attractive proposition.

If modal shift to cycling could be achieved by putting up signposts or delivering leaflets, it would already be happening. In reality, modal shift will not happen without a high-quality cycle network – which we currently do not have.

The ‘existing cycle network’ does not include any alternative routes to Otley Road that will get people where they need to go, and to claim it does is misleading.

HAPARA Should Work towards the Best Possible Cycle Infrastructure

Although HAPARA says it is seeking local residents’ views, it is not doing so in a neutral way. It is clear from the flier that HAPARA has already taken a hostile view of Phase 3 of Otley Road Cycleway.

HAPARA does not admit to being anti-cycling, but it is openly anti-cycling infrastructure. This means that it is against taking the steps that would result in more people cycling more often.

Instead of taking a hostile anti-cycling stance, HAPARA should first seek views on the cycleway in a neutral way. Then it should work with local residents and the council to support the creation of the best possible cycling facilities on Otley Road.

HAPARA Seeks Views on Otley Road Cycleway Phase 3

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