Pinewoods plans spark accident fears

Crag Lane. Proposed lease area.
Crag Lane. Proposed lease area.

Harrogate councillors are having round the table talks with RHS Harlow Carr to discuss fears of accidents occuring near the Pinewoods when a car park and path are built.

Some councillors fear the worst after Harrogate Borough Council (HBC) agreed to lease part of the Pinewoods to the RHS.

The RHS is building a new car park north of Harlow Carr on Crag Lane, and will build a 6ft wide path through the Pinewoods for those using it.

However, it is believed walking the path will take a long time, and councillors fear users will put themselves in danger of being involved in accidents by instead crossing the road randomly to save time.

Lib Dem Rossett Councillor David Siddans said: “It is difficult to split the issue of the lease from the decision to give planning consent for the top car park and the footpath that goes with it.

“The fear is that people won’t use the path, and will cross randomly.

“People with children, elderly people and those carrying bags will want to cross, so there is a real fear that conflicts will occur.”

Coun Siddans continued: “The RHS could have implemented the car park without the lease, as it is giving away a part of the Pinewoods.”

The RHS told the Harrogate Advertiser: “Once the RHS has formally responded to the council, representatives from Harlow Carr will meet again with all the relevant interested parties to discuss how the area will look and be safely managed. The RHS has met with local groups on many previous occasions to discuss matters relating to the car park and the Pinewoods, and will continue to actively communicate going forward.”

A report suggests there will be 7,000 to 10,000 people trying to cross Crag Lane and nearly 3,500 cars using the lane during an average weekend.

The fear is an increase in collisions between pedestrians and cars. Terry Byrne, chairman of Harlow and Pannal Ash Residents Association said: “The only hope we have is that somebody takes account of the serious potential consequences.

“There will be cars parked on the wrong side of Crag Lane leaving pedestrians to cross and nobody seems to have taken account of it.”

Rossett Coun Jim Clark had called for lease decision to be deferred so all interested parties, including the Pinewoods Conservation Group, could voice their concerns, but HBC Cabinet voted unanimously last month to grant the lease.

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