When North Yorkshire County Council’s Executive meets on 15 January 2018, members will decide whether to consult the public on the findings of a study of the towns’ congestion problems.
The study was presented to the county council’s area constituency committees for Harrogate and Knaresborough and for Skipton and Ripon at the end of last year. Members supported consulting on the proposals.
Congestion in the two towns is worse than anywhere else within the County Council boundary and there are three air quality management action areas, two in Knaresborough and one in Harrogate.
Growth in housing and employment in the area is forecast to continue, with 11,700 houses and 20 to 25 hectares of new employment land anticipated by the end of the Local Plan period in 2035, much of this within the urban area. Journeys are forecast to peak at more than 27,000 each day, almost 5,700 higher than the current level. More than 90 per cent of journeys start and/or end in the Harrogate and Knaresborough urban areas. About half of all trips are wholly within these areas.
The County Council commissioned independent consultants to review the causes and impact of congestion and to consider solutions. The review set out to improve quality of life, support sustainable housing and economic growth, protect and enhance the environment, including air quality, and improve connections along the A59.
It sets out two packages of options. One looks at managing demand and encouraging behavioural change, including developments in public transport and the cycling and walking infrastructure, measures to improve journey planning, extended pedestrianisation in central Harrogate, a congestion or low-emission zone, speed and weight limits and optimising the existing road network. The second contains similar measures plus the option of an inner relief road, which would include a bypass for Killinghall.
County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Access, said:
In compiling this study, our officers and consultants have listened to local county councillors and the views of interested local parties via an engagement group, which met several times last summer. The Executive will now decide whether to consult the 48,000 households in the Harrogate and Knaresborough area about the options in the two packages.
It should be stressed that we are at an early stage of what will be a long process. No decision has been taken on any option or package in the report. At this point, we are considering only whether to put forward these options in a public consultation.
If approved, the consultation could begin in late February and run for ten weeks.