New Harrogate housing: Safety fears raised

Residents Colin Elliff of Hartley Road and David Britain of Beckwith Road in Harrogate in front of the field  which may become housing.
Residents Colin Elliff of Hartley Road and David Britain of Beckwith Road in Harrogate in front of the field which may become housing.

A worried Harrogate resident is claiming proposed new housing on the semi-rural outskirts of the town will put pedestrians at risk.

Professional civil engineer Colin Elliff, 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.

After writing a series of letters to Harrogate Borough Council's planning department, said: "If we're going to have new housing, it has to be planned properly with high quality and safe infrastructure.
"The proposed site access is massively substandard and will carry major safety risks for everyone, including users of the existing ginnel footpath from Beckwith Road to Whinney Lane."

Mr Elliff BSc CEng MICE said he was concerned at the advice provided by North Yorkshire County Council's highways department about the proposed road access to the housing development by Mulgrave Properties Ltd on land comprising OS Field 0830, to the rear of numbers seven to 43 Beckwith Road.

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'Pedestrians at risk' claim
He said he is anxious that the proposed road access to the new housing development features a 90-degree bend and has only a single pedestrian pavement.
The problem, he claims, boils down to the dangers of tight corners and fast speeds.

He said: "In the note to the Harrogate planning officer's planning department, it acknowledges that there's a safety concern with the 90-degree bend in the proposed approach road, with a clear risk of vehicles mounting the kerb on the inside of the bend, and striking pedestrians.
"But the advice is deficient. The conditions then imposed fail to address the core problems.
"For example, the 'Kassel' kerb is not designed to stop HGVs and other large vehicles from mounting the kerb and killing pedestrians.
"The intended use of Kassel kerbs is for step-free access to buses.
"It is abundantly clear that the conditions imposed by the county council's highways officer have not been properly thought through as a safe and practicable means of ensuring the safety of pedestrians."

Mr Elliff also says he is keen to highlight that the tightness of the space for the new access road would make it more dangerous for mothers with baby buggies to get around safely.
He said: "The physical constraints of the narrow and tortuous access route between existing housing are so great that it seems impossible to safely accommodate both pedestrian and vehicular access along a single route."

North Yorkshire County's Council's point of view
But a spokesperson for North Yorkshire County Council said the applicants had already made alterations to the original access arrangements even though they disagree with the claims made by the objector.
The spokesperson said: "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 kerbing.
"The planning committee will take highways safety matters into account when they determine the application."

Engineers reject worries over residents' safety
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.

But Mr Elliff fears that Whinney Lane and Pannal Ash Roundabout are in danger of becoming new traffic hotspots because of separate housing developments in the area envisaged under Harrogate Borough Council’s draft Local Plan.
A total of 230 houses are proposed for Plot H70 to the south of Whinney Lane, and 690 houses are proposed for Plot H51 to the north of Whinney Lane.