Letter: Bypass - Fighting the battle again

Traffic on Skipton Road, Harrogate
Traffic on Skipton Road, Harrogate

Over 25 years ago, Harrogate Council proposed a Northern Bypass to relieve traffic on Skipton Road.

The reasons it was rejected are the same now as they were then:

Over 85 per cent of traffic on Skipton Road is internally generated: a relief road would only have a marginal impact on relieving this.

Twenty-five years ago, the council’s ‘hidden agenda’ was to open up the Bilton Triangle for development by linking it with a new road to a northern bypass.

Housing growth would continue to be concentrated in the north of Harrogate rather than a balanced development around the town.

This would lead to a funnelling of traffic from Skipton Road along Bilton Lane and Woodfield Road to reach the new bypass: congestion on the scale of Wetherby Road in Bilton and Woodfield.

It was Labour councillors who alerted residents at that time to these threats and the opposition was so strong that the council had to abandon their plans.

Labour councillors then succeeded in safeguarding the Bilton Triangle as a ‘Green Wedge’ - an area of countryside projecting into the urban areas of Woodfield and Bilton.

It seems that the battle has now to be fought again but, this time, instead of local councillors alerting residents to the dangers of a Northern Bypass, we have our UKIP councillor, David Simister, actually proposing the route.

Geoff Foxall

Former Labour councillor for Bilton