Letter: Roads - Choking on our own success
I reply to the letter by Shan Oakes (Letters, November 24) titled 'Devastation in the pipeline' of November 24. What a load of old tosh!
If the Green Party wishes to be taken seriously, then instead of opposing development on principle, they must put forward sensible alternatives and argue their case without using spurious figures plucked out of the air.
Harrogate is no longer a quaint Victorian spa town but a busy commercial, conference and tourist centre. With above average earnings and low unemployment, our economy is thriving.
If we wish that trend to continue, we must address traffic congestion before it strangles the life out of our town.
How will new roads destroy the character of Harrogate and the surrounding district? The traffic already exists. For long periods of the day, it is stationary. It clogs side roads, residential areas and country lanes as well as the main arteries.
It is frustrating, time consuming, detrimental to the economy and devastating for the environment. Even the Green Party must recognise that static traffic is far more polluting than that which is free-flowing.
With or without a relief road, many more houses will be built in the area, which our roads cannot support. Yes a better infrastructure will pull in more vehicles from outside the district, but it will be mainly commercial traffic.
Where on earth did Shan find the figure of 90 per cent internal traffic movements? That’s what congestion is. It’s commuter traffic combined with shoppers, school trips and through traffic travelling from A–B on inadequate roads. Like it or not, the car remains the most convenient, efficient, comfortable and cheapest form of transport for most journeys.
No decision has been made on the route of a relief road, so to state that houses will be demolished and many hundreds of homes will be affected is pure speculation.
We have been discussing this issue for 30 years and yes, there must be further consultation and we have to look at all the practical alternatives but please can we, as a town, make a decision sooner rather than later.
That decision must benefit the population as a whole and not just the vocal minority.
We simply cannot afford to spend another decade contemplating our navels whilst Harrogate chokes on its success.
Rossett Way, Harrogate