THE leader of the Lib Dem group on North Yorkshire County Council has insisted that his group is totally opposed to the proposals for the re-routing of the A61 through Harrogate.
Coun Geoff Webber also criticised the quality of consultation documents provided for the debate saying: “Despite extending the consultation period at my request, and laying on two public presentations, it was not until the very last minute that highways officers were able to come up with traffic flow figures or any indication of how many parking spaces would be lost.
“I attended both the public exhibitions and the briefing to Harrogate councillors and can truthfully say that I have yet to hear a good word for the scheme. I hope that I have made it clear that this plan is deeply unpopular with Harrogate residents.”
Proposals to re-route the A61 southbound through Harrogate were first floated by the council in March with a consultation period of just one month.
The scheme includes restricting traffic in Station Parade to buses, taxis and private vehicles seeking access to the railway station with all other traffic being diverted along Cheltenham Mount and East Parade. The roundabouts near Asda and the Odeon would be removed and replaced with traffic lights.
This scheme is associated with redevelopment of the bus and railway stations which, it is thought, would be more attractive with a substantial reduction in traffic on the current A61 route.
One further aspect of the scheme is a plan to pedestrianise James Street and Princes Street with the loss of about 50 on-street parking places.
Diversion of traffic to Cheltenham Mount would take it from a predominately commercial area to almost exclusively residential with a consequential major impact on residential properties. Local businesses, particularly in Commercial Street and Lower Station Parade, are also concerned that access to their premises will be more difficult.