Harrogate residents concerned over Oatlands Drive cycle lane plan assured they will be listened to by county council

North Yorkshire County Council says it will take into account local residents' concerns over the creation of a one-way system for cars in plans to create a new cycle path on a key link road in Harrogate's congested road network.

Friday, 19th February 2021, 4:22 pm
Updated Friday, 19th February 2021, 4:24 pm
Oatlands Drive in Harrogate seen from the air with St Aidan's School in the middle. The county council is proposing to enhance facilities for cyclists and pedestrians on the route as part of its Active Travel Fund cycle paths programme,

The county council had invited the public to give their views on proposals to enhance facilities for cyclists and pedestrians at Oatlands Drive as part of its Active Travel Fund cycle paths programme, inspired partly by huge public support for sustainable transport policies in its Harrogate Congestion Study.

The initiative follows the county council's success in winning £1,011,750 from the Department for Transport’s Active Travel Fund.

The grant, which must be spent during the 2021/22 financial year, is earmarked to fund work along four corridors to improve access to the town centres for cyclists and pedestrians in Harrogate, allowing for more space for social distancing, as well as reducing car use and carbon emissions.

Oatlands Drive, Active Travel Fund proposals

1 Implementation of a permanent one-way system for vehicles on the southbound carriageway on Oatlands Drive (unclassified road).

2 Placement of permanent fully segregated (with wands or similar) 1.5m width, one with flow, one against flow, mandatory cycle lane. Installation of Tiger Crossings at 4 locations (Slingsby Walk, Outside St Aidens School, Hookstone Road and Knaresborough Road) to connect existing cycle routes and enable safe passage for the pupils of two high schools (St Aidan’s and St John Fisher).

3 Introduction of Temporary Traffic Regulation Order (TTRO) to mitigate safety concerns on current un-protected cycle lane (northbound carriageway) with a view to becoming permanent in future.

4 Proposed one way filter at St Winifred’s Drive prohibiting access onto Oatlands Drive and St Hilda’s junction to prevent entry onto St Hilda’s Road.

5 Traffic signal improvements to improve efficiency outside of project extents which brings benefits to the Victoria Avenue scheme.

6 Installation of raised tables at Slingsby Walk and Wheatlands Road to regulate vehicle speeds.

But there has been a hostile reaction from some residents who have made the following complaints to North Yorkshire County Council.

Residents complaints

1 There are already cycle lanes on Oatlands, but are rarely used, cyclists preferring to use the pavements or plough furrows in the Stray grass to course even more dangers for walkers.

2 Residents in the “Saints” area may find their new convoluted route into the town centre makes it too much trouble to bother with and will continue their lockdown habit of online shopping.

3 Traffic on Oatlands Drive will all be funnelled either left on to Hookstone Drive, increasing congestion and pollution on the already congested run up to Woodlands corner or right on to the similarly congested Hookstone Road towards Leeds Road.

4 The situation with the school buses at drop off/ collecting time is already chaotic and will not be helped by this proposal.

5 A lot of people will be inconvenienced and a great deal of money expended for the benefit of a relatively small number of people.

What a resident says

One resident Susan McIlhinney, who lives at St.Clement’s Road, said: "Although I am in favour of making cycling a more pleasant and safe experience around my neighbourhood, I am against one way traffic going south on Oatlands Drive.

"I am also very concerned regarding the knock on effect there will undoubtedly be to the surrounding streets.

"Diverting traffic down St Winifred's Road, through the Saints (like a rat run) will cause havoc.

"The roads are narrow enough without adding “through traffic” to residents traffic.

"Saints residents will have to go to town for heavy shopping via Wetherby Road or Hookstone Road which are already congested.

"As regards assisting safe cycling on Oatlands Drive I definitely think the existing cycle lane bordering the Stray should have double yellow lines as people park in that cycle lane and up onto the Stray at weekends making it dangerous for cyclists as they are unable to use that section of cycle lane and have to pull out onto the road."

"The aforementioned parked cars are destroying the Stray grass. A 20 mph limit with two way traffic on Oatlands Drive should suffice."

What North Yorkshire County Council says

North Yorkshire County Council acknowledges the complaints from residents but says they will be taken in account.

County Coun Don Mackenzie, executive member for access and transport said the council was keen to listen to the public.

He said: “To help us to develop our proposals, we are inviting local people to give us their views on the proposed corridors and potential improvements. Detailed designs will follow, taking account of the feedback we receive, and we will consult further on those later in March.

Keisha Moore, North Yorkshire County Council's Transport Planning Officer, said: "Since the consultation launched the county council has had a lot of the same concerns raised about the proposals, particularly from residents of the estate.

"These comments have been heard and understood and will be taken into account when developing the designs.

"This first round of consultation is seeking feedback on the potential route corridors; where we could deliver improvements to cycling and pedestrian infrastructure.

"The detail on the proposals for Oatlands Drive was included in North Yorkshire County Council's Active Travel Fund bid to Government.

"However, these are high level proposals which are subject to further investigation and development, not least because it has been such a long time since submission of the bid and we expect things to have changed.

"Following the responses and feedback from this first round of consultation, we will develop the designs further and another consultation will take place in March, where people will be invited to comment on them.

"A decision will then be made on which schemes to proceed with.

"We’d like it to be made abundantly clear that none of these plans will be going ahead without further development and consultation."

Karl Battersby, North Yorkshire County Council's corporate director of business and environmental services, said: "Since the consultation was launched, the county council have had a lot of the same concerns raised about the proposals, particularly from residents of the estate.

"These comments have been heard and understood and will be taken into account when developing the designs."

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