Plans for a new Harrogate relief road have taken a step forward with an update proposals document being published. The document has preferred option of a new road that would traverse from the existing ring road, between Harrogate and Knaresborough, alongside Bilton to near Killinghall.
It needs to be emphasised the North Yorkshire County Council are looking to put the development out for public consultation – it is some way off being a done deal, let alone the diggers arriving.
The proposal will also be put before the Harrogate and Knaresborough Area Constituency Committee on the 8 November 2018. This is the committee of County Councillors and they have an advisory role as they are consultees only.
The committee had previously made a majority vote against taking proposals to a public consultation. They favoured other traffic reduction measures, with further work being done to identify what those measures would be, they did not support a relief road.
The views of the Area Committee will be used, along with those of the public, if to proceed with the scheme.
The vote by the Area Committee was taken by the opposition groups as a red light to the project going further – their vote is not however binding. The opposition have tried to use that vote as a lever to stop the plans going to wider public review.
County Councillor Don Mackenzie, executive member for highways, said:
We are looking to consult with the public on three options. The first is an option to simply do nothing, but people in Harrogate live with congestion on a daily basis, so I don’t believe that is the right option.
The other options are a relief road, that would skirt close to the Bilton area with traffic reduction measures and final option of a relief road without traffic reduction measures.
We have discounted the option of a junction in Bilton.
But there are big gains to be made from a releif road, especially on traffic coming into the town on the Wetherby, a route that has frequent queuing.
Opposition groups to the scheme have published some accurate some misleading information. We contacted the Nidd Gorge Community Action Group and they have been unable to put anyone forward to comment. This has not been the first time they have had a reluctance to engage.
Much has been talked about the Nidd Gorge being destroyed.
Don Mackenzie said:
I know that people have been looking at the currently published routes to see the exact route. We have intentionally left it vague for the time being though. The proposed route is near to Bilton and avoids most of the Nidd Gorge will be untouched.
There has also been comment that it will destroy the Green Way and that is not true. I worked to develop the Green Way and I wouldn’t want that to destroyed.
Also is likely to be a two carriage-way route at ground level.