New plans to cut congestion on Harrogate's Oatlands Drive won't be ready until autumn

New proposals to cut congestion on Harrogate's Oatlands Drive won't be ready until at least autumn - more than a year-and-a-half after original plans were abandoned.

By Jacob Webster
Wednesday, 25th May 2022, 10:05 am
Updated Wednesday, 25th May 2022, 10:07 am
One-way plans for Harrogate's Oatlands Drive were previously scrapped after a backlash from residents.
One-way plans for Harrogate's Oatlands Drive were previously scrapped after a backlash from residents.

North Yorkshire County Council scrapped plans to make the street one-way traffic in March 2020 before launching a feasibility study for the wider area.

However, there have been several delays and the council has yet to go out to consultation.

A council spokesperson said the consultation is "still being finalised" and "likely to start soon after" next weekend.

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The spokesperson also said the new proposals will be made available at the end of the study, "which will be in the autumn".

The original plans were met with widespread opposition from residents who warned the one-way system would be "disastrous" for the area which includes St. John Fisher Catholic High School and St. Aidan's Church of England High School.

The one-way proposals were replaced with a 20mph limit and traffic filters.

However, this still caused upset among locals who complained the changes would cause disruption on residential streets.

This led to the plans being dropped altogether from the council's active travel schemes for which the authority received around £2.5 million for projects across North Yorkshire to get more people walking and cycling.

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A common complaint for Harrogate's Oatlands Drive is that parked cars block cycle lanes near the Stray where there are no double yellow lines.

Residents also say their streets are busy with rat-run drivers looking to avoid town centre traffic.

Allan McVeigh, the council's head of network strategy for highways and transportation, said as well as the consultation, data gathering including parking surveys will be carried out before the new proposals are brought forward.

He also said new traffic measures would be trialled before being introduced permanently.

He said: "The purpose of this study is to review the existing designs and prepare new ones, based on the data we collect, to give us some options for active travel and traffic calming improvements in the Oatlands area that could be trialled in a pilot to test before implementation."

Separately, the council has confirmed it is aiming to start work on phase two of the long-delayed Otley Road cycle path also in autumn.

Phase one was completed in January, with phase two set to start after a review of the designs was launched following new government guidance and safety concerns being raised by residents.

Phase three relies on funding from housing developers, and the council said this final stage will also include a feasibility study.

Council officers behind the Otley Road cycle path are meeting with cycling and walking campaigners, councillors and residents' groups this evening to discuss the progress so far and next steps.

By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter