Dobbies’ proposals for a 10-acre garden centre on Skipton Road have been met with a mixed response from locals.
The issue of traffic congestion on Skipton Road was raised repeatedly by concerned residents at yesterday’s meetings.
Saltergate Drive resident Nick Crebbin said: “I am worried about the traffic on Skipton Road, although it is mostly the neighbouring housing development that will cause the traffic, not so much the garden centre.”
Local resident Stuart Williams agreed that traffic was his main worry, saying: “People will start using Jennyfield Drive as a cut-through and they will be driving too fast.
“What will happen if the car-park gets full? Will people park on the streets nearby?”
Traffic consultant for Dobbies, Duncan Birrell, tried to appease these worries, saying: “We will have a 350-space landscaped car-park and an overflow car-park on the site for peak trading days, which usually happen just a few times in spring.”
Mr Birrell explained that the peak time for people visiting Dobbies will be between 1pm and 3pm and they estimate the site will generate around 200 journeys a day. He said: “The flow of traffic in and out of Dobbies is unlikely to affect rush-hour commuter traffic as most customers visit in the afternoon or at the weekend.”
Other residents questioned the need for another garden centre in Harrogate. Peter Heaton said: “There are already some really good garden centres and nurseries nearby. I think I will still be going to Daleside nursery to get my plants.”
Dobbies’ Development surveyor, Neil Menneer, said Harrogate was a hub for horticulture and that was why it had been in Dobbies’ sights for almost 10 years, the Skipton Road site for almost two years.
Dobbies’ proposal came the same week as developers Commercial Estates Group proposed 290 houses for a neighbouring site on Skipton Road.
Simon Bond lives opposite the site of the proposed garden centre. He said: “One of the reasons we bought the house was for the views out over the fields, so any development would have quite an impact.”
North Yorkshire County Coun Don Mackenzie said: “I think overall people are quite shocked by all the plans. I want to reassure people that there will be no developments for years to come.”