The planning application for a ‘green-tech science park’ at Flaxby Covert made by Forward Investment was submitted a while ago, and interested parties will have made their representations about this already.
Mr Visick has described the potential of the park as a ‘gateway site for 21st century Harrogate’. Well, he would because he is behind it.
However, the sad fact is that siting a business park at Flaxby Covert is likely to close the ‘gateway’ to Harrogate and bring about its decline. How come, you may ask?
The gateway to Harrogate, and its prime feeder, is the A59 immediately west of J47 on the A1(M).
We are told that the new roundabout at Flaxby Covert on the A59 was built to ease traffic in and out of the once proposed five star hotel and golf complex at Flaxby. However, that proposal has run into the buffers, and new proposals are now before us, both of which will be accessed from this roundabout.
Local residents and regular commuters are well aware that this new roundabout has caused increased traffic congestion on the A59 already. The proposed Flaxby Green Park to the south of the roundabout is planned to provide for 2,840 FTE jobs, ie full-time equivalent jobs.
This could mean maybe 5,000 part-time jobs, all arriving by road, and leaving the same way.
So quite possibly an extra 3,000 traffic movements on the roundabout every peak period. No account has been made of this in Forward Investments’ plans.
In addition, Harrogate Borough Council think it is a good idea to site a new dormitory town with a potential population of 8,500 people having its only access onto this same stretch of A59.
Every working resident of this new settlement will have to travel by road, and access the A59 via the Flaxby Covert roundabout, or via another new roundabout on the A59 just 250 yards away.
So the vision our planners and local politicians have for their strategic access highway is to create massive congestion at Flaxby Covert.
The business park and settlement combined could see an additional 6,000 traffic movements on this roundabout at every peak period.
It will be a mere matter of time before trade and tourist visitors to Harrogate and Knaresborough chose to go elsewhere rather than waste hours sitting in traffic jams.
However, all is not yet lost. There is still time for enlightened decisions to be made by our councillors. Reject this proposed business park and the proposed Flaxby dormitory town.
There are existing alternative sites for these elsewhere in the district which will not have the same damaging effects upon trade in our towns.
Mr and Mrs H White