Growing calls for safety action on 'rat run' road in one of Harrogate's fastest-growing areas

Councillors and residents frustrated with delays on a new footpath for a "dangerous" road in one of Harrogate's fastest-growing areas are stepping up their calls for action.

Friday, 7th January 2022, 1:42 pm
Updated Friday, 7th January 2022, 1:45 pm
This is the railway bridge where Kingsley Road connects with Bogs Lane. Photo: Google.

The Kingsley Road area is facing the construction of around 600 new homes and a new footpath and street lighting providing a link with Bogs Lane was promised as part of a deal with housebuilders, but detailed plans have yet to come forward.

Councillor Philip Broadbank, who represents the Starbeck area, said safety had become a serious concern for residents and that "urgent action is now needed".

"I really do worry about what could happen if we don't get this issue resolved soon," he told a meeting of North Yorkshire County Council's Harrogate and Knaresborough Area Constituency Committee on Thursday.

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"I'm raising this because it's a dangerous situation and needs to be resolved.

"Over the last three years major developments have started around the railway bridge and many of the new homes are now occupied.

"Over 600 homes are in the progress of being developed and there is now an urgent need to get a footpath and lighting in this area.

"We can't delay action for much longer - we need to make sure this area is safe for people to walk and cycle."

Councillor Broadbank also said the "rat run" road was only getting busier with traffic due to the growing population and cars using it to avoid queues at Starbeck level crossing.

This comes after residents previously warned the Kingsley area was already struggling with “bumper-to-bumper” traffic - even before the hundreds of new homes were built.

And ever since construction works began there have been complaints over heavy lorries using the narrow streets, mud on the roads and temporary closures. This has led to several enforcement orders against housebuilders being drawn up by Harrogate Borough Council.

Councillors, residents and Harrogate MP Andrew Jones have all written to the North Yorkshire County Council on the promise of a new footpath, and there is now a request for the authority to come up with a "speedy plan of action".

Melissa Burnham, highways area manager at the county council, told Thursday's meeting the issue was being treated as a priority and that the delays have been partly due to drawn-out talks with landowners.

She said: "There was a planning obligation on one of the developers to design and deliver a footway link between the Barratts development site and railway bridge.

"Unfortunately, a review of the footway design revealed the proposal put forward was not deliverable due to site constraints.

"North Yorkshire County Council's highways teams have reviewed alternative designs, but unfortunately the solution requires third-party land which has and still continues to be a lengthy process in terms of negotiations."

She added: "North Yorkshire County Council highways can certainly offer reassurances that progress is being made to bring about a satisfactory solution, but the process is very much time-constrained by processes which are not directly in our control.

"Because of this I'm not able to give a commencement date yet, but I can assure you those conversations are taking place."

By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter