Bypass won't completely solve Harrogate's traffic nightmare admits County Councillor

Traffic in Harrogate
Traffic in Harrogate

A western bypass of Harrogate may not completely solve the town's traffic nightmare, according to the County Council's Executive Member for Highways.

The first steps on the road to the new bypass were taken on Tuesday after North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) approved the Strategic Transport Prospectus.

The new A59 bypass of Harrogatw was included as part of the 30-year strategy to improve transport links across the county.

However, many residents in Harrogate are unconvinced a bypass would ease traffic and have called on NYCC to introduce other traffic calming measures.

While the man behind the report. Coun Don Mackenzie, stressed a bypass would take traffic away from town centre, he admitted other measures needed to be taken as well.

He said: “I am aware that many people say that the bypass won’t solve the problem. They are not looking for a bypass because they say that it’s all traffic within Harrogate

“But we need these fundamental improvements as it will take some traffic out of the town centre."

Business owners on Skipton Road have already expressed concerns about traffic disappearing from the road as a possible consequence of the bypass being introduced.

“It just shows you can never please everyone all the time,” Coun Mackenzie explained.

“Even though we have proposed a relief road we are never going to be able to turn that road into an empty road. But we do need a discussion about how to improve congestion in the town.”

The issue of congestion in Harrogate will also be discussed at a meeting of the Chamber of Trade on Monday, November 2, which Coun Mackenzie will also attend.

He explained that whilst a bypass would address some congestion issues he admitted a discussion was needed for other ideas to ease the problem.

He said: “We will be speaking very generally about it and I’m sure there will be plenty of questions about the congestions but I’m hoping we can to find some answers."

With the plans for the new bypass expected to cost between £50m-£75m, NYCC are asking the Government for a proportion of the funding available for The Northern Powerhouse.

Coun Mackenzie spoke at the meeting of the Executive on Tuesday and stressed that the plans would make an important difference to improving the traffic in Harrogate.

He said: “Harrogate is in an interesting position. Anyone who goes to Harrogate, lives in Harrogate or visits Harrogate knows that congestion is a major factor.

“That congestion will not be relieved by small scale developments but by fundamental improvements to our highways infrastructure.”