Harrogate Gateway: New consultation launched on £10.9m project hit by legal threat

A third consultation has opened on Harrogate's £10.9 million Gateway project after the controversial plans to revamp key parts of the town centre were hit by a legal threat.

By Jacob Webster
Wednesday, 20th July 2022, 3:53 pm
Updated Wednesday, 20th July 2022, 3:55 pm
Photo: A view onto Harrogate's Station Parade and James Street which are set to be remodelled under the Gateway project.
Photo: A view onto Harrogate's Station Parade and James Street which are set to be remodelled under the Gateway project.

Residents and businesses are once again being asked for their feedback on the final designs of the proposals which include cycle lanes and pedestrianisation.

North Yorkshire County Council is behind the project and agreed to submit a final business case to secure funding from the Department for Transport's Transforming Cities Fund in January.

However, that was delayed after one of Harrogate's leading property companies made a proposed claim for a judicial review.

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Hornbeam Park Developments said in a letter that it believes a previous consultation held last year was "unlawful" and that the council "failed conscientiously" to take into account the feedback.

The council has since signalled its determination to push ahead with the project and has now opened a five-week consultation today (20 July).

It has also published a new report which says Harrogate town centre is at "risk of decline" and that there is a "strong economic case" for the Gateway project.

The plans include a part-time pedestrianisation of James Street and reducing Station Parade to one-lane traffic - and some residents and businesses are concerned the road changes will lead to more traffic and deter shoppers.

But the council claims the Gateway will not only encourage more people to travel by bike or foot, but also boost business, increase property prices and attract investment.

The report said: "The scheme is considered to support inclusive growth by presenting new opportunities to access jobs, education and training – that will serve to support a sustainable labour force in the district.

"This document has reviewed what is a large body of evidence and the strong precedents that indicate the Transforming Cities Fund scheme is likely to increase footfall and retail performance, increase property/land values and increase business investment."

The council also said the road changes would increase average car journey times by 73 seconds at peak hours and that 90% of businesses on James Street would be unaffected by the removal of parking spaces.

Also included in the plans are upgrades for Station Square and the One Arch underpass, as well the Odeon cinema roundabout and several other streets in the area.

The final designs are available to view online where people are being urged to take part in a survey.

Residents and businesses can hear more about the plans at drop-in sessions at the Victoria Shopping Centre on Thursday, August 4; Friday, August 5; and Saturday, August 6, from 9am to 5pm each day.

An online event will also be held on Wednesday, August 10 at 6pm.

After the consultation ends, the council's executive will reconsider whether to submit the final business case.

If approved, it is anticipated that construction would begin in winter 2022/23 for approximately 12 months.

The Department for Transport recently said it expects the project to be completed by March 2024, but it would not comment specifically on the legal threat. It added that should there be any delays, deadlines will be "reassessed by a panel on a case-by-case basis".

To have your say on the Gateway project go to www.yourvoice.westyorks-ca.gov.uk/harrogate

By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter