Harrogate campaigner's anxious wait over planning decision

Harrogate housing development controversy - The sightlines at the 90 degrees bend at the ginnel between Beckwith Road and Whinney Lane
Harrogate housing development controversy - The sightlines at the 90 degrees bend at the ginnel between Beckwith Road and Whinney Lane

An anxious Harrogate resident who has led a campaign against new housing on safety grounds is waiting for today's result of a crucial planning meeting.

Professional civil engineer Colin Elliff BSc CEng MICE , who has lived in the Whinney Lane of Harrogate for decades, said plans for a new access road to cope with potentially 40 new homes to the west of Beckwith Road were failing to take full account of the safety of pedestrians.

Mr Elliff argues that, under the planning proposals by Mulgrave Properties Ltd, road vehicles using the road access to the possible new houses pose a danger to pedestrians using the existing ginnel footpath between Beckwith Road and Whinney Lane.

New Harrogate housing: Safety fears raised

Mr Elliff claims the 'risks' inherent in PLANNING APPLICATION 18/02960/FULMAJ at OS Field 0830 apply particularly to parents pushing young children in buggies or prams, to helpers pushing disabled persons in wheelchairs, and also to those driving mobility scooters.

He adds, because of the absence of any footway of adequate width on the north (Beckwith Road) side of the proposed access road, and the presence of high garden fencing, these footpath users will be unable to see approaching vehicles until the front of the buggy/pram/wheelchair etc is on the road.

Mr Elliff, who says he has submitted copious written evidence to both the developers and North Yorkshire County Council's highways department, has even gone as far as to take his own sequence of photographs which, he claims, illustrate the visibility/sighting problems, from both the pedestrian’s and the driver’s perspective.

After his own studies of the area, he concludes that the only solution would be for the developers to devote the proposed access road to pedestrian and cycling use, and to find an alternative access route for road traffic.

He said: "This potential solution would of avoid all the other, including:
The extraordinarily tight 90-degree bend.
The risks to pedestrians from overrunning vehicles.
The potential blockages to emergency vehicles.
The huge intrusion to all the properties on Whinney Lane and Beckwith Road that back on to the proposed access road.

But Sanderson Associates, the consulting engineers to Mulgrave Properties Ltd, deny the access road plans put pedestrians at risk.
In a letter to Harrogate Borough Council's planning department, Sanderson Associates, say the plans are based on the latest research in highway design and accident causality investigation and reflect the improvements now provided by modern vehicles.
They add it is unlikely that drivers would attempt to negotiate the bend in the access road at 20 mphm.
They also say the available forward visibility and raised section of carriageway would both act as speed reduction measures.

North Yorkshire County Council is already on record as saying the applicants had already made alterations to the original access arrangements - despite disagreeing with Mr Eliff's claims.

The county council's highways Officer has confirmed that he is satisfied with the highways access and safety arrangements, particularly those relating to the use of Kassell

The planning meeting will take place at Harrogate Borough Council at 2pm today, Tuesday, April 2.

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