The changes would involve re-routing the one-way traffic through town away from Cheltenham Parade along Cheltenham Mount, to the ASDA Roundabout, up to the Odeon roundabout and then across the bridge back onto Station Parade. There are also proposed changes to Strawberry Dale Avenue, turning it into a one-way system.
Cheltenham Parade would still allow travel for buses, taxis and vehicles that require access to the train or bus station. Access will also be possible, as it currently is, onto Cheltenham Crescent for access to the multi-storey.
Meeting with Special Projects Manager, Phil Broomhead and Senior Engineer, Melisa Burnham who is managing the scheme on a day to day basis.
They expressed some frustration in how news of the development was leaked to the press and because of that there had been a level of miss-information.
Phil Broomhead: “It was always our intention to have a consultation period, that is what we had done elsewhere and was always going to happen for Harrogate too”
The consultation is currently running until 16 May 2011 using an online form on the County Councils website. They are urging people to complete the form, but in addition they would like feedback by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
They really want to hear your views. Melisa Burnham commented: “People are completing the consultation form, but we would really like to be receiving more emails as to what people feel about the change”
Phil Broomhead further commented: “We are not going to be putting this in if people simply don’t want it, these changes will make for a safer and more pleasant shopping experience on Cheltenham Parade”
The project has an assigned budget of £750K that is coming from a larger £2.5M budget allocated to a cover a package of works within Harrogate. If this project is halted following the outcome of the consultation then it is likely that the budget would be re-assigned to highways maintenance, although some of the budget has been spent in feasibility studies with such things as Traffic model tests.
A major area of concern has been the number of parking spaces that would be lost as a result of this change. Phil Broomhead : “At the moment we are just looking at the feasibility of this project, there will be some spaces lost but we don’t have an exact figure. If they are a disabled space then we are ensuring they are not displaced very far”
Pressing further to get a figure on the number of parking spaces that would be lost, Melisa Burnham felt it wasn’t appropriate just now to give an approximate figure. “We will shortly be issuing a Q & A document that will explain more about the changes, but as the project progresses we will be in a much better position to calculate numbers” she said.
The feeling was that the number of spaces lost would not be significant in relation to the overall spaces within the town, some of the spaces lost would also be the very short stay disc/residents only spaces so the impact would be more on residents rather than shoppers.
Discussing further about the history of the scheme.
Phil Broomhead: “This was originally part of a bigger scheme of works for the town where the station was going to be moved further east towards the bus station with an 8 storey building built. That would of involved Network rail and a private development company Cadick – budgets are not currently in place for that to happen though”
The possibility of a park and ride was discussed, Phil Broomhead: “Park and Ride has been proven as working really well, take York as an example, but we don’t have a budget to establish one in Harrogate. There are significant costs with finding suitable land for the parking and the day to day operational costs are significant”
No opposition has been received from any of the larger national chains that have outlets in Harrogate, a number of hotels on Kings Road have expressed concerns about access to their rear car parks if Strawberry Dale Avenue were to become one-way.
Concern has been expressed by a number of the local shop keepers and and action group has been formed to oppose the changes. They believe that the scheme is detrimental to the town both in the look of the town and is likely to increase parking problems and reduce trade.
A key part of this is communication and there will be a number of road-show type days where individuals can come along and meet the team running this project and question them directly. The dates and location will be published very shortly.
Further reading SCTS Information booklet