Ukip County Councillor launches twitter campaign to switch traffic lights off at Harrogate M&S development

Ukip County Councillor David Simister has launched a social media campaign to force traffic lights at the new M&S development in Harrogate to be turned off until the work is complete.

For the last seven months, work on the new development, at Scotts Corner, has resulted in local traders claiming financial hardship due to lost business and commuters facing lengthy tailbacks during rush hours.



Despite pleas to North Yorkshire County Council by councillors, business leaders, residents and the shop keepers, the traffic lights – which only allow vehicles to move through the cross roads one direction at a time – have been kept on.

However, a technical problem yesterday morning (Monday, 31 March 2014) resulted in the lights being out – and traffic flowed freely for the first time in months. But when the fault was rectified, and the lights went on again, the traffic quickly backed up.

Coun Simister – who travels the road twice a day, has now launched a social media campaign – #switchthemoff – which is calling on Marks and Spencer and the county council to act.

SimisterCoun Simister (Harrogate, Bilton & Nidd Gorge) said: Enough is enough! The traders and commuters are at breaking point and the traffic lights must be turned off now.

This morning the traffic lights were out of action and there were no queues in any direction. As soon as the traffic lights were turned back on the traffic backed up immediately.

We are told the work is extremely complicated and I don’t doubt that it is. However, if the situation is not sorted out immediately then a number of the shops on Oatlands Parade will go to the wall.

It is even having a negative impact on businesses further down Leeds Road, as far as the St George’s roundabout.

I’m urging as many people as possible to send a message to North Yorkshire County Council and Marks and Spencer via Twitter. If both organisations are snowed under by tweets then maybe we will be taken seriously.”

The “tweet” Councillor Simister has sent – and is asking to be re-tweeted is – Traffic lights at #M&S #Harrogate are killing trade and commuting. Turn them off NOW! @northyorkscc @marksandspencer #switchthemoff


4 thoughts on “Ukip County Councillor launches twitter campaign to switch traffic lights off at Harrogate M&S development

  1. The problem with this argument is that it assumes that “traffic” is only motorised traffic on the roads. When traffic lights are off at a junction, motorised traffic does seem to flow smoothly.

    But try cycling through such a junction. It is terrifying, because no car driver will make eye contact with you. They are so focused on watching out for other cars, and negotiating a way through, that you become completely invisible to them when on a bicycle. This is a common cognitive failure; when people become particularly focused on looking out for one thing in particularly, they fail to register other things in their field of view. Transport for London produced an advert exemplifying the problem: http://youtu.be/Ahg6qcgoay4

    For a cyclist in this situation, it is extraordinarily dangerous. You have to either hope and pray you make it through, stick really close to a car so you effectively shelter within their zone of protection whilst you are “invisible”, or give up and try and find another route.

    Pedestrians get similar problems. The traffic won’t stop for them to cross the road and no car drivers will make eye contact with them, because they are so focused on looking out for other cars. The drivers are probably entirely unaware of the pedestrians wanting to cross. Again they are invisible. So the pedestrians have to wait for a tiny gap and then run across, hoping they make it. All very dangerous.

  2. Pedestrians can cross further down the road, or just use some common sense (you know, that thing that seems to have been lost years ago). Cyclists can perhaps pay to be on the roads and THEN have a say.. Until then, ‘they’ can perhaps use some common sense too and stop flapping.

  3. @Richard I’m a cyclist and find myself disagreeing with you. In cases where lights and street furniture has been removed, it’s often the case that a ‘Shared Space’ is actually safer for all, because motorists and others slow down. I think this might work well at the junction IF it is made significant enough that it is a shared space – not just for motorists, but for all. Search for ‘Shared space’ on the Internet. It might be something that works for the entire Leeds Road shops stretch, actually.

    @Luke what a daft thing to say…. I suppose pedestrians and horse-riders shouldn’t be allowed to have a view either. Ridiculous.

  4. Stu, they CAN have a view. It’s called a clear one, if they stop being lazy and just walk about 50 yards either way of the junction…

    Horse riders have many fields to go in, yet they continue to risk their own lives by taking those unpredictable animals on the roads with the forever growing number of morons driving.

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