Cycling campaigners welcome pop-up cycle lane plan for Harrogate - and progress on more active travel projects

Cycling campaigners have welcomed plans for a pop-up cycle lane in Harrogate and are now urging council bosses to make a "strong effort" to support a long-term shift towards active travel through permanent infrastructure projects.

Wednesday, 8th July 2020, 2:29 pm
Updated Wednesday, 8th July 2020, 2:30 pm
Council bosses are preparing a second bid for more than 1million under the government's emergency active travel fund.

North Yorkshire County Council last week confirmed plans for the temporary cycle lane on Beech Grove when the authority revealed it had only secured half of the £266,000 it was being offered in the first round of a government fund to boost cycling and walking.

Now, council bosses are preparing a second bid for more than £1million for long-term improvements under the Department for Transport's (DfT) emergency active travel fund.

This could include cycle routes along Oatlands Drive, Victoria Avenue and a dedicated cycle lane along the A59 between Mother Shipton’s Cave and Harrogate Golf Club.

Kevin Douglas, chairman of Harrogate District Cycle Action, said he shared the council's "disappointment" that it only secured half of the money in the first round of bidding, but added he now has hopes major improvements can be made.

He said: "They really do need to make a big effort on this. They will never get a better opportunity to make real changes.

"The Beech Grove scheme is something that we support but the council now needs to make sure it gets the whole £1million it is being offered.

"We are supportive of most of the schemes that have already been put forward for this, but the devil is always in the detail. The schemes have to be done right and to a high standard, because if they aren't safe people won't use them and it will be a waste of money."

The county council was awarded £133,000 in the first round of bidding.

And despite only being awarded half of the money made available, it has pledged to deliver all the schemes it put forward, which also includes more cycle parking at locations across the county.

It will also use some of the cash to cover the costs of social distancing barriers already installed in Harrogate, Knaresborough and Ripon.

The authority said it has received around 35 requests for active travel schemes across the county for the second round - and will soon invite cycling and walking groups to prioritise the projects they want to see happen.

David Bowe, the council's corporate director of business and environmental services, said: “Regardless of the DfT decision, we know that what we are doing is vital in helping to maintain and stimulate the recovery of the local economy, so we are pressing ahead with all the proposals that are in our bid.

“The focus of our first tranche bid was the temporary measures we have already put in place to enable people to visit town centres safely so that they can support reopening local businesses and to travel confidently on foot or by bicycle wherever possible."

The council said it hopes to be in a position to share the suggested schemes with groups by the end of this week.

The pop-up cycle lane on Beech Grove will be built within seven weeks.

By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter

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