Hurrah! Harrogate's worst blocked footpath reopens

Blocked off - The safety fence round the footpath with the former McColl's store in Starbeck and St Andrew's Church itself.
Blocked off - The safety fence round the footpath with the former McColl's store in Starbeck and St Andrew's Church itself.

Frustrated Harrogate residents have relief at last as a vital pedestrian path has finally been reopened after six long months.

The busy footpath on Starbeck’s High Street has been completely closed off since last July after a major blaze tore through the empty building formerly occupied by McColls convenience shop.
Located next to St Andrew's Church and directly facing a pedestrian crossing, the erection of safety barriers has caused major disruption and some safety risks for the community, young and old alike for months.

A close-up of the damage to the roof of the former McColl's store in Starbeck. (Picture by David Leonard)

A close-up of the damage to the roof of the former McColl's store in Starbeck. (Picture by David Leonard)


The closure of the lengthy paved area and erection of safety barriers forced residents, including children at a nearby school, to walk on the public highway with its regular stream of cars.


The pelican crossing across the High Street to the Post Office and Elite Meats butchers has been switched off since the fire.


The barriers also meant the entrance to St Andrew's Church's welcome centre has been blocked.


But the start of this week saw the quiet removal of the fencing and the temporary crossing which had been installed.


The development follows complaints by Coun Philip Broadbank, borough councillor for Starbeck, about the disruption caused by the footpath's closure.


As for the burnt-out shell of a building, no apparent work seems to have been carried out on this throughout the lengthy period when the footpath was closed.


In December Harrogate Borough Council said that after assessing the building they considered the facade of the structure was not at risk of collapse.


Some residents had reported seeing the occasional slate falling onto the public highway in high winds.


Harrogate Borough Council also said, until the situation on site improved, North Yorkshire County Council would retain control of the footpath and crossing closures.


They have also been pursuing the owners of the site to make it safe via powers given to them under the Highways Act.

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