Commuters set for three month wait on Leeds Road decision

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Furious commuters will have to wait at least three months for a final decision on a suitable conclusion to end the ongoing traffic issues affecting motorists using Leeds Road.

A draft report from North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) in March suggested easing traffic congestion on Leeds Road by scrapping parking outside shops on the busy road.

However, this was met with fury by concerned shopkeepers fearing businesses would suffer as a result and a public meeting will now take place later in May to discuss a revised draft proposal to the report.

Residents will now have to wait until July 3 for the final report to go before the County Council’s Business and Environmental Services corporate director and Executive members.

According to NYCC, the public meeting will take account of the ‘significant’ number of views and comments the draft report has received before making a final decision.

David Bowe, corporate director for Business and Environmental Services stressed that ‘nothing is set in stone’ amid concerns from the shopkeepers about the effect of the report.

He said: “We have said all along that we would listen to people and take account of their views, proposals and concerns about this very busy junction.

“Nothing is set in stone and there will be a public meeting to discuss a revised draft which takes account of all responses.

“We want to make sure we have taken on board as wide a range of views as possible before a final decision is taken in July.”

NYCC stressed that the authority would give ‘careful consideration’ to the feedback before a revised draft report can be circulated in the week beginning Monday, May 11.

The backlash to the proposal from shopkeepers is just the latest development in the long-running saga between themselves and the council.

Arguments began when roadworks to allow the M&S to be built on the junction of Hookstone Road led to lengthy delays for commuters, with the council admitting in the report the changes had been ‘very unpopular’.

Harrogate Chamber of Trade and Commerce chief executive Brian Dunsby criticised the time delay that businesses, residents and visitors had to tolerate before receiving a decision on the report.

He said: “This ongoing prevarication over simple low cost solutions makes me wonder just what NYCC Highways Engineers are doing all day every working day - whilst Harrogate’s economy is being severely handicapped for months on end.

“Can you please “get on your bike” and study the junction on site and then at least adjust the timings of the lights on a trial basis to see if allowing more time for Leeds Road north and south will reduce the length and duration of the queues?

“Many businesses are suffering due to the inability of customers to reach the town in a reasonable time.”