Further design work on proposals to enhance the gateways to Harrogate, Selby and Skipton is being recommended following a public consultation.
This is the next stage in projects worth £31m across the three towns from the Department for Transport’s Transforming Cities Fund (TCF).
The TCF aims to make it easier, safer and quicker for people to travel on foot, by bike and by public transport by funding improved transport connections. In each town, a major package of investment will improve opportunities for sustainable travel and link transport hubs with centres of education and employment.
These projects are a partnership of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, North Yorkshire County Council, Craven District Council, Harrogate Borough Council and Selby District Council. They are scheduled to be complete by 2023.
Public consultation was held on the proposals for each town earlier this year to inform the development of the designs. Further consultation will follow more detailed design work.
A report recommending next steps will be considered by the County Council’s Executive on Tuesday, 25 May.
County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Access, said:
We are grateful to everyone across each of the towns who took the time to share their views in the consultation. We have listened. The next steps we are considering take into account the feedback we have received. They take account of concerns raised while providing significant benefits to facilitate and encourage people to cycle and walk. There will, of course, be further consultation on detailed proposals before final decisions are taken
In Harrogate, the key elements of the scheme consulted upon were:
- reallocation of road space on Station Parade – one-lane and two-lane options and northern end made one way southbound;
- improvements to the eastern section of James Street;
- public realm transformation of Station Square;
- improvements to public spaces to the north of Victoria multi-storey car park (One Arch);
- provision of cycle lanes on East Parade.
In the consultation, more than half of respondents were positive about proposals for north Station Parade, One Arch, Station Square and East Parade. For Station Parade, 49 per cent of respondents favoured the one-lane option and 27 per cent the two-lane option. The main concerns were the potential impact of increased congestion and the potential impact on businesses of reduced parking.
The report recommends that more detailed design work and further consultation be undertaken on the one lane proposal for Station Parade.
For James Street, 45 per cent of respondents favoured full pedestrianisation, 17 per cent partial pedestrianisation and 32 per cent retention of vehicular access. Concerns were the risk of congestion and the potential impact on businesses, particularly through loss of parking.
Partial or full pedestrianisation of James Street would require a reduction in parking spaces, but at this stage it is estimated this would be no more than 45 out of 915 on-street pay and display spaces in the town centre. Currently, at peak occupancy, it is estimated there are 120 on-street spaces unused.
Traffic modelling indicates that under all the options the highway network would continue to operate effectively.
The recommendation is to progress a design for full pedestrianisation of James Street but incorporate the ability to retain an unobstructed width so that traffic could be accommodated if necessary.
Suggestions received in the consultation would be considered, including:
- review of traffic signal synchronisation within the town centre;
- review of space for taxis and improved provision particularly for rear-loading taxis;
- opportunities for improvements to Cambridge Street;
- loading arrangements for businesses.
Councillor Phil Ireland, Harrogate Borough Council’s cabinet member for carbon reduction and sustainability, said:
I’d like to thank those who have taken the time to complete the TCF consultation and shared their views on the Harrogate proposals.
It’s positive to see that the proposals for sustainable alternatives to the car, and an improved and exciting public realm, have significant support from residents, businesses and visitors alike.
The benefit of carrying out a consultation early on in the process is that we have everybody’s feedback and ideas to feed in to the next phase of detailed design work. We can now collectively work together, review the feedback, explore our options and design a 21st century travel network that supports economic growth for the region and something people can be proud.
Concerns were about the risk of traffic congestion and associated air pollution. Traffic modelling shows no anticipated negative impact on congestion. Detailed air quality modelling would be part of more detailed design.
A report summarising all consultation responses is being prepared by WYCA and is expected to be available later in May.
Further public consultation will take place later this year to inform proposals for implementation.
Following the development of detailed designs, a final business case will be prepared, including the outcome of further consultation, before approval is sought to implement the finalised designs.