'Mindless' drivers slammed by council for crossing Stray at West Park in Harrogate

Harrogate motorists cutting across the Stray to overcome new Low Traffic Neighbourhood rules have been criticised as "thoughtless" and "mindless".

Monday, 22nd February 2021, 3:23 pm
Car tyre tracks on the Stray - Beech Grove in Harrogate is closed for through-traffic but some drivers have chosen to drive onto the grass to bypass the road blocks.

After muddy tyre tracks continued to appear today at a patch of the grass at West Park, Harrogate Borough Council says it has now been in touch with the transport authority about the possibility of introducing new measures to stop cars circumventing new road blocks erected last week by North Yorkshire County Council as part of a new Low Traffic Neighbourhood at Beech Grove and Lancaster Road.

A spokesman for Harrogate Borough Council said: “We condemn in the strongest terms anyone who has ignored the Beech Grove restrictions and driven across Stray land to get round them.

“They are completely thoughtless and would be the first to complain if it was their own land or garden.

“We are in discussion with our colleagues at the county council to see what additional measures may be necessary to deter this mindless behaviour.”

The charity dedicated to protecting the Stray, the Stray Defence Association, had said it can understand the confusion the new cycle-friendly rules have caused to drivers who previously used Beech Grove to get to West Park without having to use the Prince of Wales Roundabout.

But it, too, is calling for action to prevent further damage to the the Stray, which is protected by Act of Parliament.

The new road blocks consist of planters or "modal filters", as they are called in other Low Traffic Neighbourhoods in the rest of the UK.

Although through-traffic is now banned, transport authority North Yorkshire County Council says Beech Grove remains open to residents, their visitors, deliveries, emergency vehicles, refuse collections and taxis - and disc parking has also been retained facing West Park Stray.

Part of a range of new sustainable transport measures in the pipeline for Harrogate, the aim of the new LTN at West Park is not only cut car use to reduce carbon emissions but to create a more pleasant route for cyclists.

The introduction of planters on the two roads - or elegant crate barricades - as well as new signs warning drivers "experimental closure - no vehicle access to West Park or Lancaster Road means Beech Grove will be able to as a key link for bikes travelling between Otley Road and Victoria Avenue when the town’s new segregated cycle link into the town centre is built.

The overall aim of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods is to reduce motor traffic, and in doing so, reduce air pollution, noise pollution and road accidents.

They also aim to make the character of residential streets more pleasant, inclusive and safer for people to walk and cycle.

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