Review into car parking at Harrogate district train stations criticised as 'lost opportunity'

A review into car parking at train stations across the Harrogate district has been criticised as a "lost opportunity".

By Jacob Webster
Friday, 18th March 2022, 11:27 am
Updated Friday, 18th March 2022, 11:28 am
Harrogate train station. Photo: Gerard Binks.
Harrogate train station. Photo: Gerard Binks.

Transport officials at North Yorkshire County Council launched the review to look into where parking could be expanded in order to encourage the use of public transport and stop parked vehicles spilling over onto residential streets.

The findings were discussed at a meeting on Thursday when councillor Paul Haslam, who represents the Bilton area, said he was "disappointed" that residents were not asked where they believe investment is needed the most.

"There doesn't seem to have been any discussion with any user groups," he said.

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"I would have thought they might have been able to share some very important information - we need to know what our customers want."

Councillor Haslam said while the review was "very measured," it was a "lost opportunity" to also look into how access to train stations can be made easier for those travelling on foot or by bike.

He told yesterday's meeting of the Harrogate and Knaresborough Area Constituency Committee: "I would have hoped this review could have looked at safe and secure storage for bikes, bus stop provision and other access in terms of cycle routes.

"Train stations are going to be what we will call transport transition hubs in the future and we have to facilitate these changes so people can get off their bike and onto a train, or out of their car and onto a bus."

His comments were backed by councillor Don Mackenzie, executive member for access at the county council, who added: "We must look at other means of connecting people to railway stations and not simply in their cars."

The review highlights how new car parking will be built at Pannal Train Station as part of the ongoing housing development at the former Dunlopillo site.

Construction work has yet to start on the car park and it is unclear when this could begin.

Cattal Train Station has also been identified for improved parking as part of a 3,000-home settlement which is planned for the area because of its railway links.

There are no plans to upgrade parking at train stations in Starbeck, Knaresborough or Weeton, as well Harrogate which a report said already has extra capacity at the Victoria multi-storey car park.

Another area which has been identified for potential improvements is Hornbeam Park train station where previous proposals to expand the car park were met with concerns that it could encourage more car journeys on the already congested Hookstone Road.

Graham North, strategic support officer at the county council, told yesterday's meeting that extra car parking had been considered again, although it could have had a "significant" impact on traffic.

Mr North also set out some of the reasons why parking upgrades are needed at other train stations, but can not be achieved.

He said: "The Harrogate line has had significant improvements in frequency including the recent improvements between York and Harrogate.

"We have also had modern rolling stock, station improvements and the introduction of the LNER services to and from London which are all potentially increasing demand for rail travel.

"The rail industry has looked at each station to identify any land available for car parking close to stations and whilst some land has been identified the cost to purchase, access to and from the sites and the poor business cases have meant that these were not developed further."

By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter