Letter: Relief road - A conflict of objectives?

Station Parade jam.(1505141AM1)
Station Parade jam.(1505141AM1)

I was surprised to read in Coun Mackenzie’s column last week that the principal objectives of the proposed relief road are to “address current and anticipated levels of congestion on our existing roads, to improve east-west connectivity through Harrogate District, and to deal with air quality problems at key junctions.”

The County Area Committee for the Harrogate District decided upon the objectives of the relief road when it met last November. At that meeting, NYCC’s Team Leader for Transport Planning, commented on the relief road options thus: “Their sole purpose is to indicate some possible relief road corridors which the County Council will be looking at as part of this future work.”

It seems that the relief road now has a new objective. It is to help improve the road system between Lancashire and Yorkshire north of the M62, a scheme outlined by Lancashire and Yorkshire Enterprise Partnerships in March 2017 to improve economic activity (Central Trans-Pennine Corridor East-West Connectivity: an Economic Study). Part of the road corridor would link Lancaster with Skipton, Harrogate and York. This complicates matters.

If the relief road is to relieve traffic congestion then Coun Mackenzie’s preferred route is the ‘green route’ through the Nidd Gorge, which has enraged Bilton residents. But if its main purpose is to improve east-west connectivity, surely the best route is the least environmentally damaging route north of Knaresborough, the ‘yellow route’.

If there is a conflict of objectives, then surely it is up to NYCC to make it clear to Mouchel, the consultants who are advising them, what the road is really for. I think Harrogate and Knaresborough residents also have a right to know.

Geoff Foxall

Chair, Starbeck Residents

Association and ex Bilton

Labour Councillor