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Beech Grove closed to through traffic and Oatlands Drive to become one-way, but is it the right thing to do ?

North Yorkshire County Council have now implemented a Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) experimental order on Beech Grove road and Lancaster road in Harrogate.


North Yorkshire County Council have now implemented a Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) experimental order on Beech Grove road and Lancaster road in Harrogate.

The orders allows barriers such as bollards and planters to stop through traffic. Barriers have now been erected at he junction of Beech Grove/ Lancaster road and at the junction of Lancaster road and Victoria road.

Tranche 2 will see Oatlands Drive become a one-way road as NYCC has said it is the only way to install a cycle lane with physical separation form cars

What have NYCC said:

  • It shows their commitment  to improving facilities for active travel
  • The Beech Grove scheme, alongside other similar active travel projects underway in Harrogate, will do much to encourage active travel, to ease congestion and to improve air quality.
  • Beech Grove is tranche 1 of the changes, tranche 2 will be about making Oatlands Drive one-way to allow a cycle lane to be installed.
  • They believe there is strong support for these changes and it what people wanted when the relief road didn’t get public support

Does it have support ?

The Harrogate District Cycle Action Group have said they welcome the trial of a Low Traffic Neighbourhood(LTN) on Beech Grove and Lancaster Road. The Harrogate BID group have voiced concern about what the further changes coming may mean to the economy.

What do people say in the area ?

We spent some time today talking to local residents about the changes.

The consensus of people that said they lived near to the changes, but not on the roads with barriers, was that they had already seen an increase in traffic. They acknowledged that perhaps people living on Beach Grove may have a different view.

Comments that if anything the road should be made one-way.

Comment was made why it was necessary to take a road for cycle way, when there was  large green space right next to it.

People can make comment on these changes by email the North Yorkshire County Council Highways team.

Any comments should be emailed to area6.boroughbridge@northyorks.gov.uk. The deadline is 14 August, 2021.

Video of the area today:

Barriers on Lancaster Road, Harrogate
Barriers on Lancaster Road, Harrogate
Barriers on Beech Grove, Harrogate
Barriers on Beech Grove, Harrogate

 

Do you think this is a good idea ?

Take part in our quick straw-poll:

Are the barriers on Beech Grove and Lancaster road a good idea ?

View Results

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Barriers on Beech Grove, Harrogate
Barriers on Beech Grove, Harrogate
Additional bollards have been installed on the footpath to stop cars mounting the pavement: Beech Grove, Harrogate
Additional bollards have been installed on the footpath to stop cars mounting the pavement: Beech Grove, Harrogate
Some cars have already drive around the barriers onto the Stray: Beech Grove, Harrogate
Some cars have already drive around the barriers onto the Stray: Beech Grove, Harrogate

Our opinion, Tim Cook, Editor of Harrogate Informer:

It’s strange that in planning law you have to make an application to a local council that is open to scrutiny by planning officers and the public at large, but for a change like this it just happens and the onus is on the public to say they don’t want it. But this is part of a process that is not a documented to the same level as a planning application.

But I think there needs to be some challenge to the basic presumption that millions should be spent on schemes specifically for cyclist. Cycling is no doubt a leisure activity, enjoyed by many, but is it a replacement for a car ?  For a few it is, but not for the majority, it is just not practical. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to make Harrogate as friendly and easy for cyclists as possible. Cheaper, more frequent bus services from a number of operators is part of a solution.

The overarching plan is of course to discourage cars from the town centre of Harrogate, that’s on the basis they are not-environmentally friendly and people should walk, cycle or take the bus. But does that mean in the future we won’t have some form of automated transport or will that too evolve into being ultra-efficient and not contribute to the C02 load. I am talking technology such as Hydrogen fuel cells in cars or even driverless vehicles.

The other area that is concerning is that this is a Highways driven change and with an apparent little regard to the businesses in the town centre. Further changes like this could risk just making the town “unfriendly” to the majority in the short term causing shoppers and businesses to go elsewhere. There doesn’t seem to be a receptive ear from the councils about the needs of local business.

Already local people are voicing that this change will just force more traffic onto the Cold Bath road or into back streets, like down Victoria road.

It’s good to be progressive, but a reason to do something isn’t just because you have the budget or because you can. There seems to be a lack of true analytical thinking.



Oatlands Drive will become a one-way road
Oatlands Drive will become a one-way road
Oatlands Drive will become a one-way road
Oatlands Drive will become a one-way road

 


24 Comments

  1. I love the comment about analytical thinking. The problem is they don’t think, at all, ever about the people who live in harrogate. These utterly pointless exercises in council muscle flexing are nothing but a vanity project hangover from the utter failure of the uci cycle race.

  2. Pretty much agree with everything said already, there’s no analysis of what’s happening, just a scheme that might sound good in council meetings – “blocking the road will improve cycling!”. Well, will anyone who wouldn’t cycle in the past really want to go out on their bike because Beech Grove is a bit quieter? At the moment it’s full of drivers coming up and doing a U turn at the bollards, so the low traffic argument can’t even be made. The Oatlands Drive plan sounds like another half baked mess – someone driving from town to St. Aidan’s/SJF will either have to go down Wetherby Road or Leeds Road first then back up Hookstone Drive (or vice versa.) While I’m all for pupils cycling to school, 500m of bike lane across the Stray is hardly going to make you change your mind if you don’t want to cycle at the moment (there’s already the cycle path and Stray Rein for this anyway). Like I said on the other article, Harrogate isn’t Cambridge and we’re not going to turn into a cycling town just by blocking off roads randomly.

  3. Why was Beech Grove chosen ? It satisfies none of the criteria required for an LTN. There are rat runs far worse in Harrogate that require urgent attention. It does satisfy however it’s well heeled residents who no longer have the minimal traffic and parking that obscured their view of the Stray. Lucky them. ABSURD.

  4. Complete nonsense, typical council half baked, rubbish!

    It’s the sort of idea I would not be surprised at being suggested in outline but immediately dismissed by anyone with more than half a mind. This will just make traffic in other areas, as mentioned, WORSE.

    My guess is a council member lives on Beech Grove and wants it be be more quiet!

    • They need people who have lived in Harrogate all there lives and driven as I have since 1966 and still driving I have seen many changes to the road layouts and it seems to me that they’re either don’t drive or have not lived in Harrogate for very long car drivers pay car tax to use a roads cyclists pay nothing perhaps the council all ride bicycles

    • My thoughts exactly, I think the council need to come clean about their reasons as none so far make any sense whatsoever.

  5. I agree that this idea is nonsense. It will just make other roads more busy and increase the air pollution there. Exactly why did we want to improve cycling anyway? In my experience true cyclists use the roads on the outskirts of town on their way out to the countryside. Again, in my experience, most people on bikes in town are a menace. They ride on pavements to the danger of pedestrians and in areas where they should not be riding bikes at all. They generally ignore the rules of the road, too. The other day I saw someone ride straight through a red light…he didn’t even slow down! Far from pampering to these people, they should be controlled better. You never see the police warning them about breaking the law. Why?
    This is the thin end of the wedge. I can foresee a time in the not too distant future when all vehicles will be banned from the centre of town. Who, then, will bother to use the shops? They will just take their money elsewhere and the town centre will die at an even faster rate than it is now.

  6. Maybe I’m just being cynical but turning Oatlands Drive into a one-way road will only cause mayhem and a massive increase in traffic on Wetherby Road, Hookstone Road and Leeds Road – probably others too depending on the direction of the Oatlands flow.
    And as such is bound to turn people against the idea of increased cycle paths

    The pity is that the pavements are wide enough to enable cyclists & pedestrians to share

    Just look at the riverside path in York

  7. Agree with most comments except for the person who says “It does satisfy however it’s well heeled residents who no longer have the minimal traffic and parking that obscured their view of the Stray. Lucky them”. The decision was made by NYCC and the cycling lobby and no one else. The residents of Beech Grove and the surrounding area had no say in the matter.

  8. Usual format for Harrogate Council, lack of joined up thinking, totally half baked idea with little thought to the consequences.

  9. Couldn’t all this money be spent on decent pavements and wider paths across the stray Paths wider enough for prams and wheelchairs. Couldn’t the lights work in favour of the pedestrian. Couldn’t we just reduce the speed in built up areas and near schools and hospitals. Cycle ways are not the answer. I couldn’t cycle up the hills of Harrogate but I can walk.

  10. Whose crazy idea was this ? Is it the same person who thought it would be a laugh to have two traffic lanes merge into one at extremely busy junctions ie.Wetherby Road and Leeds Road ? I just cannot see the point in giving up a road to cyclists, for what reason, is it to save them a 1 minute cycle up to the Prince of Wales roundabout ? A total waste of time and money not to mention traffic chaos, especially for people living just off Beech Grove who will now have even more traffic using their roads. Has anyone seen the state of the grass verges along the stray on Beech Grove ? They are covered in tyre tracks from motorists having to u-turn and the stray has only just recovered from the UCI ( don’t get me started on that !!) Another faux Pas by the council.

  11. The pressure will now be put on Cold Bath road which is already congested due to parking. This not a thought through project.

  12. What a waste of time and money from a council that hasent got a clue ? The rates we pay most of witch goes to north allerton ,i have texed the council on a couple of issues and thay carn’ t evern bother to reply ,we try to walk and do not park in town but we have to put up with car on the pavement, dog dirt ,over grown hedges uneven pavements and cyclists, thay cycle any were thay are not going to stick to cycle lanes .put whats wrong first for the walkers on what should be a free pavement cyclists are and always will be a minority and they do not pay

  13. Think cyclists have a death wish. Who would want to cycle on Harrogate roads with all the potholes. The council would be better employed organising repairs rather than directing traffic and causing chaos

  14. This is an absolutely ridiculous idea! You cannot justify these outrageous ideas! They’re down right stupid! How could you even think about making Oatlands Drive a one way road? The idea is a joke! What about all the residential properties and people that live through that area! Not to mention the logistics off all the buses and coaches that go to the 2 schools! This is the worst idea I have ever heard of whilst I have been living in Harrogate for 40 years!! I know the last year has been tough and there are probably a lot of people out there trying to justify keeping their jobs but this idea takes the biscuit!! Ridiculous!!!

  15. People only seem to want fewer cars on the road as long as that’s not theirs . The problem with this scheme is it doesn’t go nearly far enough. In order for it to make a real difference using a car for short distances should be rendered pointless by extensive pedestrianisation and cheep public transport. End the school run and all short car journeys unless you have a medical reason. Now tax SUVs off the road and you will have the beginning of a change worth making.

  16. Very bad for business!

    When my wife and I visit Harrogate, a number of times every year, we spend £100s to £1000s per visit at a shop on West Park, we have been doing this for many years (prior to covid). We have always parked on Beech Grove and walked across the stray to this particular shop. We are not prepared to pay for the privilege of shopping there (in Harrogate) as we spend enough on our visits. We feel that parking further away will just be too much hassle so will likely and with great sadness not be making further purchases at this shop. It will not be just us that will lose out due to this traffic/parking restriction on Beech Grove but also the businesses on West Park and in Harrogate that people like us visit.

  17. What a farce and knee jerk reaction to valid cyclist and environmental concerns. Has no one from the council visited these sites and surrounding areas? The obvious result will be greater congestion, air pollution and a worsening of HSE factors for the areas.
    Making Oatlands one way will obviously increase traffic across 2 other ill conceived and poorly planned council disasters namely the junctions at either end of Hookstone road; Wetherby rd/Leeds rd. These sites already hamper traffic flow and increase air pollution while restricting access for our front line service vehicles. The surrounding Saints area and Wheatlands road will become even worse rat run areas and the chaos that already is start/end of school day will be tripled. I assume the vast number of school buses will now have to be routed toward town before embarking on their one way journey down Oatlands – madness!

  18. There seems to be no diversity of thought among the councilors on NYCC and HBC. Where is the demand for these schemes. Most cyclists in the district are ‘leisure’ cyclists. This is not going to reduce congestion or decrease emissions, The result will probably be the opposite.

    It’s all wrong headed, emissions will be reduced by electric cars – don’t need to spend millions on cycle lanes used by a few that leave the majority of us stuck in traffic jams. Where is the cost benefit analysis?

    There does not seem to be an iota of intelligence in any of this, as the editor says, where is the critical thinking, and more pertinently the consultation?

  19. Completely random, illogical, poorly thought out, half-arsed solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.
    Both routes are next to quieter parts of the stray. Why can’t the council & The Duchy of Lancaster get their heads together & put cycle paths on the Stray ?

  20. A proposal by cycling fanatics, allowed to happen by the useless NYCC, who really shouldn’t have a say on our road. Making Oatlands Drive one way would be chaotic. It also totally unnecessary as its not a busy road apart from a few hours when the school runs take place. Like Beech Grove this looks to be another attempt by the cycling groups to create themselves a cycle track and hasn’t nothing to do with improving the environment or making road safer for children cycling to school. Oatlands Drive is main artery for residents of Woodlands/Oatlands to go to town. Making this one way would force more traffic onto Hookstone Road, Wetherby Road and Leeds Road. This is a ludicrous idea. The NYCC have kept this quiet in the hope of railroading it through like they did with Beech Grove. I suspect that have already got their grubby hands on the money and will be reluctant to give it back.
    These people need to go in the forthcoming election John ENNIS, Don MACKENZIE, Richard COOPER and John MANN.

  21. There is NO CONCENSUS about this ridiculous act. Pumps more traffic along roads that the relief road would have “relieved”

  22. As a resident of West Park I can see absolutely no benefit to the closure of Beech Grove. As a previous regular user of Beech Grove to exit out on to Leeds Road I now have to either use Victoria Avenue then right on to Station Parade, through town, Victoria Road or Cold Bath Road which is twice the distance.
    From the evidence outside my widow, my observations are as follows:
    More queuing and backlogged traffic down Otley Road to Prince of Wales roundabout at busy times meaning cars sat in traffic with engines running giving off more pollution; the same applies down West Park, busy times create queues of traffic as far back as Prince of Wales roundabout to the traffic lights at the junction with Victoria Avenue (traffic light sequence not changed!) Bearing in mind, traffic levels are nowhere near normal at the moment due to the current restrictions I can only see this getting much worse.
    Cold Bath Road – This is already a bottleneck at busy times and is now noticeabley worse in both directions. Very concerning given this a busy road with school children.
    Victoria Road – Rat run! I have evidenced cars flying up this back road and over the speed bumps.

    I hope you find my comments useful.

    Julia Rastrick

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