Letter: Relief Road - The review is just a formality

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Following the latest NYCC Harrogate Area Committee meeting on March 16, I am concerned that the considerable level of opposition to the proposed Harrogate Relief Road is not being reported in your newspaper.

Last week, in his report from the HAC, Coun Mackenzie mentioned nothing of the packed hall filled with dissenting voices; nothing of the concerns, public questions or ideas raised by the seven members of the public who chose to speak on the relief road/congestion issue; and nothing of the rapturous support received from the audience, after each statement was read out.

Representing various local groups and a large number of concerned citizens, the statements of the speakers have not been reported to the readership of your newspaper, whilst Coun Mackenzie, via his regular column, has been free to give his views and impart his transport ideology without the opinions of others getting in the way.

What is clear from the column is that the views of these other groups don’t count.

Representing local constituents, conservationists and environmentalists, with a right to be heard - all with alternative ideas for relieving congestion, improving our towns and protecting our green spaces – they don’t deserve a mention.

They obviously don’t carry the same weight for Coun Mackenzie as the views of the Harrogate Chamber of Trade and Commerce whose influential Traffic and Transport Forum opinions received headline billing at the top of his article.

He was only too eager to report that, at his fruitful meeting with them: “All present agreed that the economic success of the town relied upon good and efficient highways infrastructure.”

One look at the T&T Forum’s website tells us what this actually means in practice:

“Our recent successes include firm plans for: NYCC now recognise the need for a Northern Relief Road from Skipton via A59 to A1(M) J47.” Source: http://www.harrogatechamber.co.uk/FocusGroup.aspx?ID=3.

This is a very interesting admission!

Who was it from NYCC who recognised the need for a Northern Relief Road before the commissioned £600,000 review from highways consultant and road builder Mouchel is carried out?

I thought this was the task of the review?

The review that Coun Mackenzie assured us in his column “will establish first whether a new road is needed”.

I think we know the answer to that - between the Chamber, our Executive Member for Highways and Mouchel the road builders; and with £600,000 of taxpayers’ money to play around with, they have it all worked out.

The review is a formality.

Chris Kitson

Nidd Gorge

Community Action