As arguments continue to rage over the controversial £10.9 million Gateway Project, there have been renewed calls for the Parliament Street section of highway to once again be made into a two-way road.
North Yorkshire County Council told the Harrogate Advertiser last year that it had already rejected the idea due to the fact it would prove too complex, too costly at £30m and would not fit the requirements of the Transforming Cities Initiative.
Gateway as part of a £42m package of North Yorkshire improvements funded by the Government and all spending plans must meet strict criteria before getting the green light.
North Yorkshire County Council’s executive member for highways and transportation, Coun Keane Duncan, explained the A61 was simply a non-starter.
“Taking out the established one-way system may sound relatively simple on paper – but in a worst case scenario, such radical change risks creating significant impact on traffic across Harrogate town centre,” he said.
“The scheme would not only be extremely complex to get right for 21st century traffic, it would also be extremely expensive and disruptive to deliver," Coun Duncan continued.
“With costs estimated to be at least £30m, there is no obvious way it could become reality. It falls outside the scope of the Transforming Cities Fund, and there is no other source of funding to deliver it as things stand right now. The immediate focus of the council’s efforts and limited resources, therefore, has to be on bringing forward improvements that are realistic
“We must continue working towards a balanced approach to travel for all road users within and around Harrogate.”
A third consultation process is now underway regarding the Harrogate Gateway project – understood to have been launched following complaints from campaigners that not enough discussion has taken place on the proposal.
They are unhappy that Station Parade will be reduced to one lane, greater priority will be granted to buses and bikes, and that nearby James Street will be turned into a part-time pedestrian-only street.
An extension has been granted for NYCC to use the funding into 2024.