North Yorkshire County Council has taken the decision to hold a third round of consultation after opposition to the plans for a greener town centre have grown over the possible impact on business.
But the latest consultation raises yet more questions about the Gateway project which was meant to capitalise on public support in Harrogate for sustainable transport and will be funded by West Yorkshire Combined Authority with largely Government cash.
There are now new fears that, should work actually start this winter to pedestrianise part of James Street and reduce some traffic on Station Parade, then it might disrupt the Christmas shopping season.
As opposition to Gateway in some quarters of Harrogate has grown over the last 12 months, voices have been heard suggesting the project may face a legal challenge.
Karl Battersby, North Yorkshire County Council's corporate director of business and environmental services, has explained the reasons behind the new public consultation,
“There are three schemes in total being progressed, in Harrogate, Selby and Skipton, with a total value of £42m. The £11m Harrogate scheme aims to transform the area around Harrogate railway station and support a shift towards more sustainable travel, such as walking, cycling and using public transport.
“We received significant feedback as part of the two consultation exercises carried out thus far, and we are grateful that local residents and businesses have engaged with this project.
"While there has been no formal legal challenge in response to issues raised regarding the consultation last autumn, we acknowledge that the impact of the changes on traffic levels and traffic flows were key issues that were raised as part of the consultation.
"We intend to provide further information on those aspects as well as consulting on the formal traffic regulation orders, which would be required to carry out the changes on James Street and Station Parade.
“The results of the consultation will be fully considered before a final decision is made on whether to submit the business case to the West Yorkshire Combined Authority to secure the funding.
“Subject to consideration of the outcome of the consultation, work could begin during the coming winter with completion in winter 2023/24.
“Any start date will be subject to feedback from the forthcoming consultation and submission of the business case to the West Yorkshire Combined Authority to secure the funding.
"However, we would ensure that work would avoid the Christmas period, and before work began we would develop a construction management plan, which we would share with businesses.”