New Harrogate campaign group's relief road fears

Residents against any idea of a new road near Nidd Gorge sprung into action in Harrogate before the starting pistol was even fired on new public consultation over possible measures on traffic congestion in Harrogate and Knaresborough.

Thursday, 18th April 2019, 4:46 pm
Updated Thursday, 18th April 2019, 5:35 pm
Members of HALT launching their campaign against any future proposals for a relief road near Nidd Gorge in Harrogate.

An initiative linked to the exisiting Nidd Gorge Community Action group, HALT’s Rachel Christy, said the residents group was geared up and ready to put their case for a better future on the roads and stop a relief road near Nidd Gorge.

Rachel Christy said: “HALT is an alliance of local people opposing a new M62-style ‘relief road’ between Harrogate and Knaresborough, through the green belt.

“We have 200 volunteers who are currently delivering 48,000 leaflets to 28 wards across the district.

“We are glad to have a huge amount of support from across the area. Our campaign leaflets, posters and banners have been paid for by a Crowdfunding appeal on our Facebook page.”

The new alliance of residents is also committed to supporting a holistic approach to reducing traffic and the air pollution it brings by supporting sustainable ‘green’ measures.

Rachel Christy said: “We are campaigning for more effective, greener, cheaper, quicker solutions to our traffic congestion that will actually work.”

Having picked through the new survey on the North Yorkshire County Council website with a fine tooth comb, the residents groups now question the nature of the survey.

They ask why the 20 questions on the survey do not, in their view, relate directly to the two packages of possible congestion measures identified at some expense and time by the county council itself.

Harrogate congestion: How public will decide future in new consultationTheir fear is that the process is a smokescreen for what they say are the county council’s bigger ambitions:

To support economic growth through housing and roads.

To ensure North Yorkshire plays it part in the Government’s vision for a Northern Powerhouse and the creation of an improved East/West road corridor by linking what would be a new Killinghall bypass to a new Bilton-Forest Lane relief road.

Sightings of a county council drone over Bilton and letters from estate agents sent to residents which may lie in possible routes for new roads have also alarmed campaigners.

The separate letters from both Carter Jonas and Lister Haigh both warn householders of the future risk of compulsory purchase orders on their houses as a result of what they describe as North Yorkshire County Council’s “plans” for a relief road near Nidd Gorge.

Rachel Christy said: “The truth is that any road in this corridor will result in the complete destruction of Bilton Fields, and will lead to a deterioration of the whole area.”