Letter: Pedestrianisation - How to make the town even better

James Street
James Street

My wife and I returned to live in Harrogate two years ago after a 40 year absence. What a brilliant decision. Such a wonderful town and people. We love it.

But James Street. Why did we have to share the shopping experience in this top class shopping street with cars and vans. Why did we have to see mums having to squeeze out, with push chairs, between parked vehicles to cross the road.

Our minds went back to towns such as Chartres and The Hague, similar in size to Harrogate and with high end shops. No traffic in the centres there. Wonderful shopping experience.

Now I’d better be careful as I have noticed in reading your pages that Harrogate has more traffic engineers than anywhere else in Europe. Nevertheless, I’m going to add to their number.

Deliverance. The council suggests pedestrianising James Street (well almost). Dismay, half the town seems to be against it. Why? Its a brilliant idea.

Where is the traffic on James Street going? Seems to me it is either wanting to park (drive-through MacDonald’s syndrome), go across Station Bridge or up Station Parade. So reverse the direction of flow along Albert Street and reconfigure the cross roads at Station Parade, then close James Street and Princes Street. Job done.

Nowhere to park? I can’t recall seeing the two multi storey car parks in town full and there are plenty of buses.

Just another thought, why not pedestrianise Montpellier Square, or dig it up altogether. I noted some comment against a cafe society, saying that no one would sit outside for most of the year. Not so.

In the towns I mention above cafe owners provide cover, heating and blankets when needed and their seats are then well used in winter, particularly at weekends. See what Lucia’s has done and which seats are occupied first.

I’ll now duck and wait for the riposte. And no, I’m not leaving town. I want to see Harrogate fulfil its true potential.

Peter Allen

Harrogate