North Yorkshire Council urged to create 20mph zones on two roads in Harrogate to improve road safety

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North Yorkshire Council has been urged to create 20mph zones on Hookstone Drive and Hookstone Road to improve road safety.

The topic of speeding cars is now a regular theme when the Harrogate and Knaresborough area constituency committee meets and last weeks meeting at the Civic Centre was no exception.

Council officers gave an update on the 20mph zone that will be implemented on streets in Harrogate including Oatlands Drive as part of a host of measures to improve safety around schools.

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However, two roads that won’t see lower speed limits are Hookstone Drive and Hookstone Road.

The council has been urged to create 20mph zones on Hookstone Drive and Hookstone Road in HarrogateThe council has been urged to create 20mph zones on Hookstone Drive and Hookstone Road in Harrogate
The council has been urged to create 20mph zones on Hookstone Drive and Hookstone Road in Harrogate

These are particularly busy in mornings and afternoons and are used by children walking to St John Fisher Catholic High School, St Aidan’s Church of England High School and Oatlands Junior School.

The current speed limit on these roads is 30mph.

Councillors heard from road safety campaigner Hazel Peacock who queried why Oatlands Drive was part of the scheme whereas these other roads were not.

In response, Melisa Burnham, the council’s highways area manager, said the two roads’ importance to Harrogate’s strategic road network would make them unsuitable for lower speed limits.

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Her colleague Heather Yendall said introducing measures such as speedbumps to slow traffic down could also be unpopular with residents due to the noise created when HGVs drive over them.

Councillor Paul Haslam (Independent - Bilton and Nidd Gorge) asked if speed limits could be changed at certain times, such as when schools open and close.

He said this would be a “much better way”.

New Lib Dem councillor Andrew Timothy, whose division includes the Hookstone area, said residents assume that motorists will speed on Hookstone Drive with little done to enforce current limits.

Councillor Peter Lacey (Liberal Democrat – Coppice Valley and Duchy) put forward a motion, which was backed by a majority of councillors, that asked officers to explore measures that could reduce speed limits to 20mph on Hookstone Drive and Hookstone Road.

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This was despite the council’s own policy already ruling it out.

However, the Lib Dem-controlled committee only has an advisory role, so the council’s Conservative executive would likely reject any moves to lower speed limits on the two roads.

Councillor Michael Harrison (Conservative – Killinghall, Hampsthwaite and Saltergate), who sits on the executive, criticised the move by Liberal Democrats and suggested councillors were wasting officers’ time with the proposal.

He said: “This is not the place to start piloting and fiddling with policy.

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"I do accept that policies don’t have to be applied line by line but highways professionals have good reasons why policies are written as they are.

"I don’t have the mandate from my electorate to start messing about with 30mph speed limits.”

A new report on 20mph speed limits in the Hookstone area is set to come before the Harrogate and Knaresborough committee in September.

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