Radical new plans have been revealed to re-route traffic in western Harrogate to accommodate the forthcoming Tesco store. The plans have split opinion, with dozens of readers getting in touch to share their views.
New Tesco traffic plans for Harrogate have sparked a furious debate with some residents saying the town will face 10 months of “nightmare” delays.
The supermarket giant’s plan, revealed by the Advertiser last week, would see Skipton Road made one way for up to 10 months to accommodate its coming New Park store.
Tesco say the changes are absolutely necessary and will give Harrogate a much improved road network. But now campaigners are calling for a full public consultation to have their say on the scheme.
“It’s going to be a nightmare,” said Jane Inman, 61, of Electric Avenue. “We live on a rat run now. It’s only going to get worse. It’s going to be horrendous.”
The full plans, which are under consultation with North Yorkshire County Council highways, would see part of Skipton Road - from the Little Wonder to the Old SpringWell pub made one way for up to 10 months from January.
West-bound traffic would be diverted through Killinghall, and the road would be closed on alternate weekends as a new bridge is built at Oak Beck. The busy road, already the second most congested in the country, would be doubled in width to four lanes of traffic opposite the Oak Beck retail park and a new roundabout would be built.
“While there will be some disruption caused by the highways works required, the outcome will give Harrogate a much improved road layout and unlock investment in the highways network that would not otherwise be possible,” a spokesman said. “We’re looking at the timeline for these highways works and we will be sure to keep the community updated.”
The scheme was revealed fully in last week’s Advertiser and now, spurred on by the debate, dozens of readers have got in touch.
Jude Smith, 38, helps run the Bread Bin on Skipton Road, said: “We were really shocked. We didn’t know anything about roadworks until we saw the Advertiser article.
“We’re all so frightened - we all saw what happened on Leeds Road when M&S came. It decimated the local businesses. We’re all petrified.
“Traffic is terrible at the moment. Making it one way will only make it worse. I want a full public consultation. We need for it to be transparent.”
Fellow business owner Tanya Umpleby, 37, of Cooking Fantastic in Killinghall, said: “This side of town will become a graveyard. We don’t want the traffic through Killinghall. We already want a by-pass through the village. Killinghall struggles as it is.”
And Sue Pearce, 61, owner of Autumn Pine Interiors on Ripon Road, said: “It’s coming, we know that. It’s the disruption with the roadworks we are worried about.
“I was shocked by what I saw in the paper. Ten months is impossible. People will just avoid anywhere with those kind of roadworks.
“Small businesses will simply not survive.”
Viral Patel, 30, from the No 1 shop on Electric Avenue, said it wasn’t a good idea.
“It’s going to be busy when the one way is in place, but closing every other weekend is going to cause havoc,” he said.
The debate continued on Facebook and on the Advertiser website, with many in favour of the plans.
“It’s 10 months not 10 years and the overall benefit at the end of the development surely makes it worthwhile,” said resident Paul Simpson.
Tom Everingham said: “If you come from anywhere near Killinghall to a supermarket it’s a pain as you have to use Skipton Road (car park) or go in to town to use Asda. Having Tesco there will ease the traffic and provide more jobs.”
And Matt Dickinson, who lives in central Harrogate, said: “A full size Tesco was always going to happen, it’s a great idea especially if the town is to expand in terms of housing, it will stop people having to trail from that side to the nearest one which is Asda, and should actually alleviate traffic when built.
“‘No one is crying about Aldi being built in that area.”
What do you think of the plans? Are they a necessity to allow Harrogate a better traffic layout in the future, or is it going to cause untold chaos? Join the debate. email firstname.lastname@example.org, visit @Harrogatehound on Twitter or call 01423 707509. Visit www.facebook.com/harrogateadvertiser for the full debate. See this week’s advertiser for readers’ letters on this issue.