Paths, roads and problems: Frustrated Harrogate residents hit out after latest twist in saga of housing developments
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Members of Kingsley Ward Action Group have been complaining over what they say is the lack of new infrastructure accompanying the construction of five major housing developments which add up to a total of approximately 600 new homes.
As well as concern over the suitability of Kingsley Road and Bogs Lane for the extra car journeys created by the rapidly expanding population in the area, they argue that so far only lip service has been paid to the need for new paths to give people access to the area by foot.
Their worries have not been eased by the latest delay to settling the question of how the area's road infrastructure is to be laid out.
One end of the area at Bogs Lane has been closed to cars since last November to allow work to begin by Redrow on the latest housing development - 133 new homes at Kingsley Manor.
Scheduled to reopen next month, the reopening of the road has now been put back for another six months as North Yorkshire Council awaits the installation of long-awaited new safe routes for pedestrians.
But Kingsley Ward Action Group says it is not confident that the problem can or will be solved in time to reopen by May 2024.
A spokesperson for KWAG said: "You cannot consistently agree to mass development without first ensuring that the current road infrastructure is suitable, safe and legal.
"No amount of excuses or ignoring the facts will make unsuitable paths and roads suitable or safe."
The basic problem, Kingsley Ward Action Group says, lies in the narrow nature of Bogs Lane which links with Kingsley Road, the even more narrow nature of the railway bridge over it which has no pedestrian path at the moment, and the narrow nature of the existing path running by the new housing developments.
Kingsley residents say a key series of questions has to be answered before it will have any confidence in the process or the outcome.
How can the existing 57cm wide footpath be deemed adequate or safe for the number of pedestrians in the area?
How are Redrow residents supposed to access their homes from Bogs Lane or are they forced to make a lengthy detour using Kingsley Road?
When reopened, will Bogs Lane become a single carriage with traffic lights or remain a dual carriage road?
North Yorkshire Council, the highways authority and planning department, remains committed to ensuring a proposed footway along Bogs Lane is constructed from the access point to the Redrow scheme down to the garage over the railway bridge.
But, such are the complexities of having several different housing developers operating in one area, the council adds that Barratt, which had been working with Redrow contractors to provide the new footpath, is now launching a tendering process to install the new pathway.
A spokesperson for Barratt and David Wilson Homes Yorkshire East, explained the situation: “In 2019, we agreed a plan with North Yorkshire County Council for new pathways on Kingsley Road.
"However, the council has now requested that a revised plan is put in place because another developer is also building homes in the area, creating the need for further road improvement works.
“We have agreed to go out to tender to get costs for doing this work and intend to make a contribution towards it.”
As for the narrowness of the existing 57cm wide path, North Yorkshire Council has told Kingsley Road Action Group that there are no proposals to widen it because the planning permission given to housing developers stated that a dry stone wall and a bank of trees at that location had to be retained.
Local residents’ lengthy wait for clarity, progress and peace goes on...