Work is likely to begin on the ground early next year and plans are currently being finalised following the Government’s recent £1.65m funding announcement for transport schemes and initiatives that can help to support economic growth in the town, whilst cutting carbon emissions.
The funding was awarded through the Department for Transport from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund after the county council submitted a bid for consideration last February. The DfT announced this summer that the bid would be partially funded, allowing the county council to deliver improvements on the main A661 corridor into the town centre and in the town centre itself.
Proposals in the bid for schemes in the Cardale Business Park and Otley Road area were not successful on this occasion, nor were proposed improvements on the A59 between Harrogate and Knaresborough and on the A61 Leeds Road and Ripon Road
However, the Government has offered funding to deliver:
- Improvements for pedestrians in the town centre, especially on routes between the bus and railway stations and the Harrogate International Centre
- Improvements across the whole town to reduce the amount of time buses are stuck in traffic queues
- Junction improvements and signal upgrades along with new cycle routes in the A661 Wetherby Road area including better links to the Great Yorkshire Showground and Harrogate and District hospital
- Information and promotion campaigns to encourage people to travel more sustainably especially those going to conferences and visitor attractions
- Improved cycle parking in the town centre and better bus stops and shelters on the Wetherby Road route
In addition the county council is reconsidering its plans to spend the £1.4 million it had already earmarked for transport improvements in Harrogate and Knaresborough.
Initial plans for the funds to be used to cut congestion by improving the traffic signals in Harrogate and to improve the environment for shoppers and pedestrians on Parliament Street and Station Parade are now being looked at again.
While the traffic signal improvements are still likely to go ahead, the county council will need to look again at the Parliament Street and Station Parade proposals following a change of view by the borough council, and to consider new priorities for spending the remaining £800k.
County Councillor Gareth Dadd, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Highways and Planning Services said:
Despite the fact the county council made every effort to work with the borough council regarding plans for Parliament Street and Station Parade, we accept the need to look again at these proposals before embarking on a major project of this kind for the town centre.
However, we are of course still committed to investing in the future of Harrogate by improving transport for residents and visitors. With the additional boost of £1.6m, recently announced from the Government’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund, we will soon start to deliver the important projects that all this money will allow us to fund. I would like to thank all our partners in the private, voluntary and public sector who all worked together to achieve this very pleasing result.