Letter: No need for town centre pedestrianisation

Traffic in Harrogate
Traffic in Harrogate

Steve Wright (Letters, October 22) is quite right to complain about the unwieldy nature of the consultation process undertaken by Harrogate Council on its “Town Centre Strategic Management Programme”.

I also spent two hours, in my case on Thursday evening, trying and failing to complete their “consultation” process.

Harrogate Town Centre Strategic Management Programme is fundamentally flawed because it views Harrogate primarily as a business undertaking rather than as a place to live and enjoy.

Its authors write about Harrogate “competing with other town centres to attract people and businesses”. Harrogate already has enough visitors.

It is because former generations of councillors and business people have been so successful in attracting visitors that Harrogate town centre is under so much pressure today.

It is a fallacy to suppose that pedestrianising Harrogate’s shopping area will benefit our environment or stop people from using their cars. What it really does is to displace traffic as motorists drive around looking for places to leave their cars in surrounding residential areas.

Let us have no more pedestrianisation of Harrogate’s shopping streets and business areas.

Many older people rely on their cars to come shopping in Harrogate town centre.

Their worst single proposal is to send northbound A61 traffic down Montpellier Hill, an idea twice decisively rejected by Harrogate people.

How can anybody, who has walked or driven past the Pump Rooms, even consider such an idea?

Montpellier Gardens and the War Memorial Precinct should be left well alone.

We are told that visitors, arriving at Harrogate Bus Station and Railway Station, get a poor impression of Harrogate from their sight of Station Square. Perhaps their main reason for this is their immediate need to cross a busy main road to reach the shops and other attractions.

This can be remedied by returning two way traffic to West Park and Parliament Street.

Michael Laycock

Wheatlands Road East, Harrogate