Harrogate congestion: How public will decide future in new consultation

North Yorkshire County Council's transport leader Coun Don Mackenzie launching the major public consultation over traffic congestion in Harrogate and Knaresborough.
North Yorkshire County Council's transport leader Coun Don Mackenzie launching the major public consultation over traffic congestion in Harrogate and Knaresborough.

North Yorkshire County Council this week launched the biggest public consultation in Harrogate for decades in an attempt to solve the town’s traffic nightmare.

The man most associated with the project says it is up to the public themselves what happens as delays, jams and carbon emissions mount up in Harrogate and Knaresborough.

Coun Don Mackenzie, said: “Like every other town in the UK, car ownership has increased, the population has increased, more homes are being built now than ever before - in other words, congestion has become far, far worse.

“It’s not a situation we need to keep putting off.

“We all contribute to congestion, so we all need to be part of the solution.”

The county council has appealed in today’s Harrogate Advertiser in its own two-page advert for the public to get involved, especially the 90,000 in the Harrogate district directly effected by traffic.

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The stakes are high in the public consultation which saw the launch this week of a new online survey open to everyone. The county council says it is only seeking to improve traffic congestion, reduce air pollution and support North Yorkshire’s economy.

Some residents groups fear the whole process is really about the latter and suspect the county council is determined to have new roads at Killinghall and in Bilton near Nidd Gorge for that reason.

A newly-formed residents group HALT (Harrogate and Knaresborough Alliance for Less Traffic) points to figures showing that relief roads would not solve town centre traffic problems.

And earlier this week the group started to deliver 48,000 of their own leaflets to households in the district.

So what will the public say?

Will the solution lie with better cycling and walking infrastructure, pedestrianisation and congestion charges, the building of new roads or will it be a mix of both?

The county council says all views expressed in the survey will be taken into consideration when a decision is made on the type of package to take forward.

A spokesperson said: “Using your comments, we will produce a package of measures designed to deliver the best outcomes.”

New! Harrogate group to launch 48,000 leaflets against 'relief road'