Gateway project: Harrogate Councillor Don Mackenzie provides comment following recent poll results
A recent poll shows Harrogate traders' hostility to pedestrianising James Street and other green transport measures within the town centre.
The poll of Harrogate businesses has shown the majority of the approximately 180 out of 900 businesses who took part are against plans to reduce Station Parade to a single carriageway and to permanently close off James Street to traffic.
The £10.9m project is part of the Government's Transforming Cities Fund and is aiming to create a more attractive entrance to the town with greater priority for pedestrians and cyclists.
There are similar projects being run in Selby and Skipton but transport officials said Harrogate had proved the most contentious due to resistance from some businesses which are worried about the impact on trade.
Cllr Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Access and Member for Harrogate Saltergate, said: “I would like to reassure the businesses that a principal reason for our current Gateway schemes in Harrogate, Selby and Skipton is to make town centres more attractive places to visit and to boost the local economy in each town.
“With our partners, we undertook an extensive public consultation earlier this year on the initial proposals, in which all residents and businesses were able to give their views.
"This included events specifically designed to enable business groups, including the BID, to give their feedback.
“The BID expressed the views now presented in its survey at that time, and these were taken into account as we prepared the revised proposals, as was the wider feedback we received from the community.
“A further planned consultation will be launched next month (October), in which all residents and businesses will be able to comment on the revised proposals.
"Again, there will be specific opportunities for businesses to comment.
“This will enable us to have a proper dialogue and help us to understand the issues behind the headline figures of the BID’s survey.
“In the meantime, we will continue to engage with the BID.
“The Government’s Transforming Cities Fund is designed to promote active, sustainable travel, such as cycling and walking, so that must be the focus of this scheme.
It would not be possible, for example, to focus solely on public realm improvements or parking.”