Gateway project chiefs to meet Harrogate business owners over major changes in town centre

Harrogate business owners with doubts about major parts of a £10.9 million shake-up for traffic in the town centre will come face to face next week with the team pushing for the implementation of one lane systems and a ‘Dutch-style’ roundabout .

Thursday, 4th November 2021, 5:20 pm
Plans to change the traffic system in the Station Parade area of Harrogate are likely to impact on areas like Cheltenham Parade, too.

The latest proposals for the Government-funded Gateway scheme may have been revised after the first round of consultation but they are still likely to face close scrutiny by attendees at a special meeting of Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce.

In particular, traders who raised objections to the pedestrianisation of James Street and the narrowing of the A61 at Cheltenham Parade and Station Parade from two lanes into one will find the new version of the plans scarcely less radical than before.

Taking place at The Cedar Court Hotel in Harrogate on Monday at 5.30pm, Chamber members and representatives of the wider business community will get the chance to view Gateway blueprints and watch a presentation on the revised proposals before quizzing senior members of the project team in person.

Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive David Simister said: “Our meeting will put businesses fully in the picture about the Harrogate Station Gateway Project, and the implications for them and their customers.

“I’m delighted to say that in addition to the project team, County Councillor Don Mackenzie and Councillor Phil Ireland will also be in attendance, as will senior North Yorkshire County Council officers.”

The full pedestrianisation of James Street may have been dropped but the ambition to reduce car traffic in the Station Parade area in favour of cycling and walking remains at the heart of plans which also include:

A reduction of Station Parade to a single lane of car traffic to create room for a brand new cycle lane;

Partial pedestrianisation of James Street;

Improvements to Station Square and One Arch;

The first ‘Dutch-style’ roundabout in North Yorkshire giving priority to pedestrians and cyclists at the meeting point of East Parade, Station Bridge, Station Avenue and North Park Road.

The latter proposal, combined with plans for a CYCLOPS (Cycle Optimised Protected Signals) roundabout for the Station Parade junction of Victoria Avenue as part of a separate ‘Active Travel Scheme’ has already promoted concern for the safety of cyclists based on the project's initial visualisation of the changes.

But the proposals have won the support of Harrogate District Cycle Action whose chairman Kevin Douglas said the new-style roundabouts, extensively used on the Continent and in UK British cities such as Cambridge, were a “big step forward” for the town.

Mr Douglas said: “At the moment, going into and coming out of a roundabout can be a risk if people don’t see and give cyclists priority, whereas with this you are going to get that.

“If we are going to take action on climate change then we do have to reduce the number of vehicles in the town centre and give people that confidence to go out on their bikes safely.”

The latest consultation with residents and businesses on the Gateway project will run until November 12 before more detailed proposals are drawn up and a final decision is made. If approved, it is anticipated that construction will start in spring 2022 for approximately 12 months.

Any businesses wishing to attend the Chamber event on Gateway need to register in advance at: https://www.harrogatechamber.co.uk/