Future James Street pedestrianisation is 'still a possibility' after Harrogate Gateway project is completed says North Yorkshire County Council

The full pedestrianisation of one of Harrogate’s prime retail areas may be off the agenda for now after fears it could see the Gateway project bogged down in a public inquiry but the idea is not dead and buried.

Friday, 5th November 2021, 3:38 pm
Updated Friday, 5th November 2021, 3:40 pm
A visualisation of how the full pedestrianisation of James Street in Harrogate might look if it happened.

Karl Battersby, corporate director of business and environmental services of the Gateway project’s driving force, North Yorkshire County Council, said a full-time pedestrianisation “remains possible” in the future after the completion of the £10.9 million scheme for Harrogate town centre which requires Government cash to be spent by March 2023.

Despite stepping back from the option of a total car ban for James Street in the face of objections which, in a worse case scenario could risk a public inquiry, a partial pedestrianisation would bring most of the benefits of full, Mr Battersby added.

“In certain circumstances, including where vehicles are excluded at all times, if an order is made and objections are raised that cannot be resolved, a public inquiry could result.

“If that were to happen, it could delay the scheme.”

He added the council’s preferred option of part-time restrictions would still retain many of the changes to the look of James Street that would be included under a full-time pedestrianisation.

He said: “The selected option provides the opportunity to pedestrianise the street at most times of the day, except for a period to allow deliveries, with access controlled through rising bollards.

“We believe this strikes an appropriate balance between the wishes of respondents and risks to the scheme.”

The Gateway project aims to encourage sustainable travel, boost safety for those travelling on foot or by bike and improve the town centre.

The Government-backed scheme was instigated after a total of 80% of people in the Harrogate Congestion Study Public Engagement in 2019 said they supported efforts to boost public transport, walking and cycling and to encourage people out of their cars.

The Gateway project in Harrogate is just one of three such projects in North Yorkshire worth a total of £42m,being delivered by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, North Yorkshire County Council, Craven District Council, Harrogate Borough Council and Selby District Council for Selby, Skipton and Harrogate.