LETTERS: Survey results don't necessarily show support for Harrogate Gateway Project

FROM: B Adams, Harrogate

Thursday, 27th May 2021, 5:43 pm
Updated Thursday, 27th May 2021, 5:44 pm

The Harrogate Advertiser of May 20 published quite extensive coverage of the survey results following public consultation on the Gateway Project including the pedestrianisation of James Street.

Survey results can be deceptive as demonstrated in a recent report commissioned by NYCC which claims the Gateway Project still has more supporters than detractors.

I understand the overall population of Harrogate is in the region of 75,000 residents, from which there were some 1,101 respondents to the online survey. This equates approximately to 1.5 per cent of Harrogate’s total population or even larger if you exclude those too young to vote.

The Gateway Project includes the pedestrianisation of James Street.

Taking the full pedestrianisation of James Street for example, the survey shows 45 per cent of the 1,101 participants voted in favour of this proposal. But in real terms this only works out at somewhere in the region of 0.75 per cent of Harrogate’s population. Hardly convincing support! A minority in my view except in the minds of NYCC and HBC it appears.

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Once again both NYCC and HBC are behaving in what I feel is an undemocratic way. They seem determined to use the survey results as published to push ahead with the Gateway Project at all costs.

This is despite major concerns of business organisations in the town and from the views of residents expressed in one form or another on a regular basis.

Rather than just online surveys let’s have some good old fashioned face to face consultation as well, where a greater number of people may be encouraged to participate and express their opinions.

It’s a great pity NYCC in particular do not put as much effort into maintaining our highways infrastructure which would benefit all users - cyclists, motorists, public transport and pedestrians.

I have just returned from a visit to Warwickshire and Worcestershire where the surface of roads and footpaths is far superior to Harrogate’s whereas, this was the reverse some years ago. Harrogate’s highways are disgraceful compared to other places so let’s deal with the basic issues first.