Hold judgement on Harrogate's Otley Road cycle path until it's complete, say campaigners

Harrogate District Cycle Action has urged people to hold their judgements on the town's new Otley Road cycle path until it is completed in full.

By Jacob Webster
Wednesday, 19th January 2022, 4:19 pm
Updated Wednesday, 19th January 2022, 4:20 pm
Otley Road's junction with Harlow Moor Road. Photo: NYCC.
Otley Road's junction with Harlow Moor Road. Photo: NYCC.

The first phase of the long-delayed cycle path between Harlow Moor Road and Arthurs Avenue was due for completion last week but has now been pushed back again until 21 February.

Kevin Douglas, chairman of Harrogate District Cycle Action, said while the campaign group had raised some concerns over the works completed so far, people would only see the full benefits until the project is finished across all three phases.

"This is only one phase and a very small part of the whole project," he said.

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"What we wanted to see was a scheme that was going to be an exemplar for other cycle routes and at the moment we haven't got that because it is only part of the bigger picture.

"When the whole thing is done it should be better and encourage more people to cycle and walk."

The cycle path is part of a wider package of sustainable transport measures for the west of Harrogate which will cost around £4.6m once completed.

Funding was first secured by North Yorkshire County Council in 2017 and there have since been several delays involving utility and construction works.

There have also been drawn-out discussions with the Duchy of Lancaster - the owners of the Stray - over the use of grass verges protected by law.

And despite the long-awaited progress on the first phase, the county council has said it is still unable to say when the project could be completed in full.

It said phase two could start in April and that the final phase connecting Cardale Park relies on developer funding which is currently being worked on and will lead to more detailed planning, including a feasibility study.

The concerns raised by Harrogate District Cycle Action over the first phase involve changes to Otley Road's junction with Harlow Moor Road, as well as priority for pedestrians.

Mr Douglas said the campaign group would soon meet with council officers to highlight the issues.

He said: "We said right at the beginning that this is one of the most difficult parts of Otley Road to work on. There are constraints and we acknowledge that.

"But the Harlow Moor Road junction has been widened to allow traffic through which is frustrating and has narrowed the turning for pedestrians and cyclists.

Mr Douglas added: "With all the delays that are going on we will keep pressing the council which should have been doing one phase and then straight onto the next one.

"I couldn't see them doing a new road scheme in this way - they just wouldn't do it."

By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter