Harrogate North Yorkshire County Councillors will review a report on the congestion problems in Harrogate at the Area Committee on 7 December 2017.
The report is going to them on an advisory basis and although their views are taken into account, the decision to procedure will be taken on the 14 December 2017 by the BES Executive in County Hall.
The report produced has 5 options on how to improve the congestion problems in Harrogate. This report has been put together by Highways along with an external consultancy.
It is worth reflecting on why this process is being followed. NYCC don’t have the cash in the bank to pay for a relief road, they need to go to central government to ask for the money. To be able to ask for that money they need to demonstrate they followed the correct process, what financial contribution they will make and that there is local support for the changes.
Of the 5 options that have been developed, only 2 are being proposed to be taken forward to a public consultation. The two options are essentially the do more of the same, that’s work on sustainable transport, bus routes and traffic flow or to build a relief road from the existing ring road towards Killinghall.
It is very true that County Council believe they have reached the end of “tweaking” the flow and the benefit that they can give means that a relief road is an option that needs to be seriously taken forward.
An inner relief road, one that goes through the Nidd Gorge, has been chosen as traffic studies have shown that the majority of traffic is internal and that an outer relief road would have insufficient impact.
But, it does need a level of public support to be taken forward.
The truth is that the area committee on the 7 December is of limited importance. What is important is that people understand the changes being proposed, the impact, both good and bad, and that they are vocal in their support or opposition during the public consultation.
People have asked as publication are we for or against an inner relief road, the answer is neither and that is also of limited importance – what is important is that the media helps conveys the facts and encourages engagement.