Plans for one-way system on Harrogate's Oatlands Drive 'very unlikely' to go ahead

Plans to turn Oatlands Drive into a one-way system are unlikely to go ahead following adverse reaction from residents.

Thursday, 18th March 2021, 11:22 am

Coun Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Access at North Yorkshire County Council, told the Harrogate Advertiser that such vehement opposition to the scheme - which would see more cycle paths being created - may now mean the project is scrapped.

He said: “The County Council wishes and needs to develop its Harrogate Transport Improvement Programme with the support of a significant majority of residents.

Coun Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Access at North Yorkshire County Council, has said the plans for a one-way system on Oatlands Drive may not go ahead.

“In the case of Oatlands Drive, it is very unlikely that the Active Travel Fund scheme for that road will proceed with the one-way option, which would provide the best outcome for safe, sustainable travel for a short journey.”

It comes in response to a number of protests and petitions against the plans. The latest petition, launched online by resident Anna McIntee and titled ‘Stop Oatlands Drive Harrogate becoming ‘ONE WAY’ only’, has received more than 1,700 signatures in two weeks.

Those who have signed it have cited their reasons as concerns about traffic building up from both Leeds Road and Wetherby Road - especially as St Aidan’s High School sits in the vicinity - and disruption on residential streets.

However, results from the Harrogate Advertiser Sustainable Transport Survey show that 55.2% of respondents agree Harrogate needs a comprehensive set of new cycle lanes in the town centre as well as better ways of getting around on foot, with 60% also agreeing more priority should be given to public transport, cycling and walking over cars.

More than 60% also said they would personally be willing to walk or cycle more into Harrogate town centre if the infrastructure was better - but Coun Mackenzie says this result contradicts the reaction the council is faced with when it tries to put more sustainable strategies in place.

He said: “The survey’s responses are very revealing and I thank the Harrogate Advertiser for providing them. In general, they concur with the views expressed by the 15,500 respondents to the County Council’s Harrogate Congestion Study Public Engagement - namely that a majority of residents want to see more facilities for walking and cycling.

“However, when concrete proposals are put forward to prioritise cycling and walking over the use of the private car, we have been met with determined opposition. When it comes to Oatlands Drive, the overwhelming response from local residents has been to oppose that option.”