Harrogate made top priority as county council reveals £1m bid to boost cycling and walking

North Yorkshire County Council's second round bid for more than £1m of government money to build better infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians in Harrogate has been revealed in full.

By Jacob Webster
Wednesday, 12th August 2020, 2:54 pm
Updated Wednesday, 12th August 2020, 2:56 pm

And the authority believes it has made a "strong" case to secure all of the cash - after only being awarded half of the £266,000 in first round funds it was being offered.

Campaigners had criticised the council for lacking "ambition and innovation", and Harrogate has now featured as a high priority in the latest bid with the town taking up three of five major schemes put forward for the entire county.

These include £250,000 for segregated cycle lanes along an existing route on the A59 between Harrogate and Knaresborough where more 12,000 two-way car journeys are made everyday.

Harrogate has been made a high priority in the bid with the town taking up three of five major schemes put forward for the entire county.

There would also be improved road crossings for pedestrians at either end of the busy road.

The council has also bid for £250,000 of pedestrian crossing improvements, cycle lanes and bike storage facilities in the Victoria Avenue area of Harrogate.

And the final scheme is more segregated cycle lanes along an existing route and crossing improvements on Oatlands Drive which would amount to £215,000 if the bid is successful.

The council said the cycle routes would connect to Hornbeam Park and improve road safety for children travelling to the St Aidens and St John Fisher schools.

It comes after the council last month launched an online tool for residents to submit suggestions and within a week 290 submissions were made.

Coun Don Mackenzie, executive member for access, said because the bid had to be prepared within just four weeks, several potential schemes had to be ruled out.

“We are grateful to the people from all over North Yorkshire who have already suggested improvements through our website and to the walking and cycling groups across the county who provided feedback on the schemes for possible inclusion in this bid", he said.

The council said research shows that unlike many areas in the district, Harrogate and Knaresborough suffer from poor traffic congestion issues not just at peak hours, but throughout the day.

It said these schemes should help with this and its drive to stop logjam queues in the towns returning to pre-lockdown levels.

Coun Mackenzie said: "The bid had to be prepared quickly, with only about four weeks between receiving the DfT guidance and the deadline, and had to meet strict criteria and a limited budget allocation of up to £1.065m.

“The schemes we have put forward are those that best fit the criteria. We believe these are strong proposals that can bring genuine travel benefits and we keenly await the decision of the Department for Transport.”

In its first round bid, the council was awarded £133,000 for a pop-up cycle lane on Beech Grove in Harrogate. Works will start this month and should be completed within six weeks.

The temporary cycle lane will remain in place for six months and could become permanent if it proves to be a success.

By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter