Thanks for your question.
First and most important, the loss of trees near the junction with Harlow Moor Road is nothing to do with the cycleway. It is because NYCC are creating a right turn lane off Otley Road onto Harlow Moor Road, for vehicles.
Work on the traffic lane has started first. Last time I looked there was no work yet on the cycleway unfortunately.
I agree that a bike path is more important uphill than downhill, but there is to be one both sides of Otley Road. That should help less experienced cyclists/children going to school.
There’s a link to the design on NYCC’s West Harrogate Improvement Package page.