Parliament Street row: Highways boss rules out new study into two-way traffic on A61 in Harrogate

North Yorkshire’s transport leader has moved swiftly to quash Harrogate campaigners’ dream of two-way traffic returning to the A61 at Parliament Street.

Thursday, 10th June 2021, 9:19 am
The controversial stretch of the A61 at West Park and Parliament Street in Harrogate was switched to a one-way road back in 1971. Picture: Gerard Binks

Brushing aside growing pressure to investigate the feasibility of reviving the pre-1971 traffic system in one of Harrogate’s key through routes, Coun Don Mackenzie told the Harrogate Advertiser a new study into the A61 would only act as a distraction from the current £7.9 million Gateway transport project to improve Harrogate town centre in an environmentally-positive way.

In the face of a wide range of voices in the Harrogate community claiming the return to the days of a two-way system on Parliament Street and West Park would support Gateway plans in the Station Parade area, North Yorkshire County Council's executive member for transport said the A61 idea would do nothing to improve traffic congestion or reduce carbon emissions.

He said: “I am not prepared to ask for a detailed viability study into the A61 proposal.

“It would be expensive and likely give rise to another divisive debate at a time when the county council needs to move forward with schemes that the public, in their 15,500-reply response to the Harrogate Congestion Study consultation, asked us to do - invest in measures to promote sustainable travel, boost the use of public transport, and discourage the use of the motor car.

“There was a demand expressed during the Harrogate Congestion Study for a new bypass to alleviate increased traffic volumes in the rapidly expanding Killinghall.

“But there was no demand in those responses for us to re-route the A61."

Coun Mackenzie also pointed out that the £30m budget for A61 changes would have to somehow be secured from the Government.

But campaigners believe the A61 switch could prove crucial in solving the town’s growing traffic and carbon emissions issues.

Road improvements and junction changes may already be envisaged by North Yorkshire County Council for streets such as Bower Road, Cheltenham Parade and Station Parade as part of the Gateway project - but public concern persists that there is a lack of an integrated traffic policy for the wider area in Harrogate as the town enters an era of sustainable transport reforms to tackle the climate emergency

Today’s print edition of the Harrogate Advertiser carries two full pages of letters from readers calling for the idea to at least be considered by the highways authority bosses.

A message from the Editor

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper.