OPINION: See a ‘Flythrough video’ of Harrogate Gateway plans - Coun Don Mackenzie

North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC), in partnership with West Yorkshire Combined Authority, and Craven, Harrogate and Selby councils, secured a total of £42m from the government’s Transforming Cities Fund to upgrade the transport gateways in Skipton, Harrogate and Selby.

Thursday, 21st October 2021, 3:45 pm

All three schemes now move forward to a further round of public consultation on the more detailed designs and proposals, which have just been published. The Harrogate Gateway scheme, valued at £11m, is centred upon Station Parade, the bus and rail stations and adjacent streets and public spaces. The ambitious and exciting project aims to bring about huge improvement for pedestrians and cyclists, to upgrade the public spaces for local residents and visitors, and to boost public transport by providing easier access to buses and trains. All the latest information is at www.yourvoice.westyorks-ca/northyorkshire.

The proposals for Harrogate are brought to life online by a ‘flythrough video’. A further period of public consultation has begun and will continue until November 12. Shaped by responses to the first public engagement in February and March, these latest proposals include:

• One lane for Station Parade in front of the bus and rail stations

• One-way southbound only for the northern section of Station Parade

• Pedestrianisation for the eastern half of James Street only

• Creation of upgraded cycling and walking facilities

• General improvements to One Arch and Station Square

There will be two live, online evening sessions during which there will be a presentation of the proposals and an opportunity to ask questions. The Gateway team will also be available in person in Unit 11 of the Victoria Shopping Centre for extended periods on three days. Full details are available using the previous link. Designs will be finalised by the end of the year to allow for decisions to be made to allow construction of the scheme to begin in spring 2022.

I welcome Northern Rail’s newly published Harrogate Line timetable effective from December 12, which confirms a doubling of frequency of services between Harrogate to York. There will now be two trains per hour in each direction, seven days a week. Up until now, the capacity of the single-track section of line between Knaresborough and York allowed only one train per hour in each direction. In 2020 the county council and the North Yorkshire LEP invested £10m in track and signalling improvements at Cattal.

These improved the capacity and speed of the line, as a result of which we will now have this much more frequent service from mid-December.

Earlier this month, the NYCC executive committee gave unanimous approval to publish the county council’s bus services improvement plan, which sets out in detail its bid for investments totalling £115m over eight years. After a period of public consultation, the plan will be submitted to government for funding under the National Bus Strategy. The plan will be published in the next few days and will target the creation of a high quality, co-ordinated and integrated bus network countywide. It will call for simpler payments and ticketing, clear and concise means of information and signage, various bus priority measures, special fares for young persons, apprentices and jobseekers, and for further expansion of the YorBus pilot. A fundamental aim of the plan will be to encourage more people to travel by bus and to make more routes, and especially rural services, commercially viable.