New plans to ease congestion in Harrogate to be discussed by North Yorkshire County Council

North Yorkshire County Council Executive will discuss the options for dealing with congestion in Harrogate next week.
North Yorkshire County Council Executive will discuss the options for dealing with congestion in Harrogate next week.

Next steps to address congestion in Harrogate and Knaresborough will be considered by North Yorkshire County Council’s Executive next week.

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At their meeting on Tuesday, October 15, members of North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) Executive will be asked to approve a set of recommendations drawn up following an extensive public engagement.

Earlier this year, members of the public were asked for their views on a range of measures to combat congestion, from improvements to encourage people to walk, cycle or use public transport to options to manage demand and larger infrastructure projects, such as park and ride services and an inner relief road for Harrogate.

A significant majority of respondents did not support an inner relief road. For that reason, the report recommends that this proposal should not be taken further. Similarly, there was little support for congestion charges, so it is recommended this option should not be pursued at this stage.

Recommendations for action include producing a walking infrastructure plan, preparing “bid ready” cycling and walking routes so that funding opportunities can be seized as they arise and reviewing car parking charges both on and off street in consultation with Harrogate Borough Council.

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This also includes considering expanding car parking management zones to encourage the use of alternative modes of transport, assessing the feasibility of park and ride sites and services for Harrogate and Knaresborough and the potential for commercial bus services to carry park and ride passengers, as well as working with bus operators to identify routes where priority measures could improve commercial viability.

Other options are reviewing traffic signals to see where improvements might be made, undertaking an initial assessment of a Killinghall bypass, and an option to link the B6162 Otley Road to the A61 Leeds Road.

The findings of the consultation and the proposed next steps were discussed by NYCC's Harrogate and Knaresborough Area Constituency Committee in August and the Skipton and Ripon Area Constituency Committee last month. Their feedback will be considered by the Executive members.

Coun Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Access, said: “The detailed report which will be presented to Executive Members on October 15 shows that the county council is paying close attention to the results of the public engagement earlier this year.

“The recommendations outline various ways of addressing the problems of congestion in Harrogate and Knaresborough which local residents told us they would support.

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“We are still at an early stage in this process and the measures agreed by my colleagues will take some time to develop fully. Above all, the need to influence travel choices and to encourage sustainable travel in preference to the motor car will be our greatest challenge.”