Letter: A ‘shared space’ policy is best
Reader letter from Honorary Alderman Anne Jones, Former Mayor of Harrogate.
The recent coverage regarding the various town centre plans makes for very interesting reading.
Some five years ago, as a resident, I participated in the Town Centre Masterplan consultation. I supported many of the proposals, for example the use of the natural amphitheatre of Montpellier for Arts events and performance. However, I did not support the pedestrianisation of James Street. I remain opposed to such action.
Let us resist the urge for blanket pedestrianisation of the town centre. I don’t believe that a one size fits all approach is the answer. Such areas become soulless at night as the ‘offer’ is not there.
If in any doubt, check the areas of Oxford Street and Cambridge Street once the shops have closed for the day. The local climate limits the rollout of a pavement café society in Harrogate.
The through flow of vehicles along James Street does work and is convenient for those who are unable to access the heart of the town on foot or by cycle. It also allows vehicles a right-hand turn to connect with Station Parade and beyond. If the pedestrianisation plan goes ahead, traffic will have no right-hand turn until the traffic lights at the bottom of Parliament Street.
In a further five years, the same length of time the Town Centre Masterplan has been in the pipeline, we will be halfway to the Government’s plan for 2030 which will result in a significant increase in electric vehicles that will in turn address air pollution and CO2 concerns.
Perhaps a shared space policy as adopted by several towns and cities is a promising option for James Street.