Northern bypass for town back on the agenda

Skipton Road, Harrogate.(2312033j)

Skipton Road, Harrogate.(2312033j)

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The idea of a northern bypass for Harrogate is back on the agenda at North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC).

Executive member for highways County Coun Gareth Dadd confirmed that the council is supportive of a ‘once in a generation’ study expected to cost £500,000 but admitted it was unlikely the County Council could meet the costs.

The idea of a second bypass in Harrogate has been a hot topic in recent weeks with councillors from all parties having their say.

UKIP County Coun David Simister (Bilton and Nidd Gorge) said the issue is at the forefront of people’s minds .

He said: “The main routes in Harrogate and Knaresborough are constantly choked, and congestion is swiftly killing both towns. I believe a vast majority of residents and businesses are supportive of at least a northern bypass.”

At a meeting last week (November 12) Coun Dadd said his support was not related to Coun Simister’s call for debate. He said: “This is not because of Coun Simister’s political campaign, it has been something that has been talked about for a while.

“It needs looking at to see what funding is there for this. It has got to be done properly. This is a once in a generation study to set out the area’s aims and aspirations.”

Coun Dadd said Harrogate Borough Council (HBC) and NYCC would need to work together to look at funding the study which could cost £500,000.

He said: “It could come back that there is a need for a full an proper survey to support HBC’s local plan.

“Any doubts over the county council commitment to Harrogate can be refuted by the commitment to this study.”

Coun Matthew Webber (Lib Dem, New Park) and Coun Trevor Chapman (Lib Dem, New Park) raised the issue of needing a bypass at a council meeting in October.

Coun Webber said: “Everyone who travels through Harrogate will realise the congestion that this area suffers from.”

He said a bypass connecting the Knaresborough bypass to somewhere near to Ripley should be considered.

“The section near Burn Bridge and around Beckwithshaw is often mentioned but there would be great difficulty because of the number of bridges that would be required.

“It is a lot of money but it is something that people have wanted looking into for a while.”

HBC Cabinet member for Transport, Coun Phil Ireland (Con, King James) said the idea has resurfaced ‘out of left field’.

He said: “I think debate about where it should be is a long way off. Paying for a bypass itself is above HBC and NYCC, it would need to be considered by the government.”