Harrogate Civic Society on why they think Gateway £10.9m project is wrong and should be completely reconsidered

Harrogate Civic Society has issued its formal response to the £10.9m Gateway project for Harrogate town centre which seeks to cut carbon emissions, reduce traffic congestion, improve the look of Station Parade and boost transport by foot and bike.

Friday, 12th November 2021, 5:36 pm

The group’s comprehensive statement follows a workshop evening it held for members and detailed consideration of Gateway by Harrogate Civic Society's Planning & Development Group which included a full consideration of all the options.

HARROGATE STATION GATEWAY – SECOND CONSULTATION

Comments from Harrogate Civic Society – 9th November 2021

Among the society’s many concerns, suggestions and conclusions are

Without additional traffic measures such as re-introducing two-way traffic along West Park and Parliament Street and a Park and Ride, Gateway will result in traffic congestion across the town centre.

Traffic safety issues will arise with potential conflicts and confusion over the flow of pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles, particularly at some of the junctions in the Station Parade area.

The proposal does not adequately consider the needs and safety of pedestrians, particularly the elderly, the disabled, and young families.

It is considered that the proposal will result in a worse environment for pedestrians than the present layout.

The design proposals for Station Square are poor and do not reflect Harrogate’s distinctive character as a floral town.

There is agreement between all of those involved that traffic (especially through traffic) and congestion is a problem in the town, that the environment for both pedestrians and cyclists must be improved, that businesses in the town centre should be supported through infrastructure improvement, and that the town centre should be a better place for those living in it but this scheme, in its present form, does not achieve this.

Harrogate Civic Society would prefer to see the whole proposal reconsidered, even though this may mean Harrogate would lose the opportunity for improvement with this funding.

Harrogate Civic Society also made the following points on the details of the Gateway project proposals:

The Society is firmly against any all-day pedestrianisation of James Street.

It says it is important that vehicular traffic be allowed to prevent the feelings of anxiety pedestrians already experience in the evenings in the pedestrian spaces like Oxford Street.

The junction of Cheltenham Parade with Station Parade, which includes the vehicular access to the bus station and many pedestrian movements, is potentially dangerous.

There is significant concern about the introduction of a bus lane and cycle lane on the upper section of Cheltenham Parade.

In particular, it is considered that traffic turning from Cheltenham Parade into Commercial Street (which will have to cross a bus lane, a cycle lane and a pedestrian route) will result in a potentially life-threatening situation.

The Society would prefer to see the cycle lanes along Station Parade limited to south-bound movements so as avoid conflict between north-bound cyclists and south-bound vehicles.

There is concern that the proposed cycle way on the east side of Station Parade to the south of Station Bridge will result in users of the parking in this area being forced to choose between opening vehicle doors across the road or the cycle way.

There is significant concern that the design of the Odeon roundabout will prove to be dangerous as British drivers are unfamiliar with this type of the layout.

What is the justification for making the western section of Cheltenham Mount one way?

This section of road carries relatively little traffic and the proposal will result in additional traffic through the residential streets of Mount Parade and Granville Road.

Also, this change will make it more difficult to access the Jubilee Car Park from the east side of town.

The Society wonders if it would be possible for buses to use Cheltenham Mount and the northern section of Station Parade instead of the upper section of Cheltenham Parade.

This would make the difficult junction at the top of Cheltenham Parade easier to manage and would allow for the introduction of a cycle lane for almost the whole length of Cheltenham Parade.

It is considered that the proposed design of Station Square is poor and does not reflect the distinctive character of Harrogate.

This is a relatively small and windy space, and the Society does not consider water jets to be appropriat

The Society is concerned that there should be a consistent approach to the design of the street furniture.

This should reflect the existing character of the Conservation Area and not be a mix of traditional and modern designs as is currently suggested.

Harrogate Gateway scheme consultation

The latest phase of North Yorkshire County Council's consultation on Gateway runs until Friday, November 12.

To fill in the Gateway public survey, visit: www.yourvoice.westyorks-ca.gov.uk/harrogate