In an remarkable meeting, the North Yorkshire County Council Executive, affirmed to themselves that the scheme should go ahead.
to develop part of Harrogate, near to the bus station and railway should go ahead.
They also affirmed that the process had been democratic, that there was economic benefit to the scheme, that Harrogate was wrong to oppose the scheme, and it was the scheme that the town had asked by opposing the scheme for a relief road near to Bilton.
A spokesperson for the Harrogate Residents Society said:
We are extremely disappointed at today’s decision.
It is clear the majority of businesses and residents do not want this and to ignore them all is very narrow minded.
While we are well aware everyone needs to do their bit for the environment, this isn’t a scheme designed for the majority.
Who will take responsibility if the impact of their scheme increases congestion and pollution, when there isn’t an increase in cyclists and when there are more shop closures?
All of which will discourage people to the town.
We would love to know who the councils are listening to other than themselves.
The environmental, economic and safety concerns were completely ignored.
Democracy died in Harrogate today.
Martin Gerrard, Harrogate Chamber of Commerce President, said:
The vote has come as no surprise as nobody listens to good argument anymore. The County Council has missed an opportunity to placate and instead they have followed a process, which they hide behind to negate reasonable argument.
What this has done is add further importance to Harrogate being represented properly going forward by officers that put the town first and do not give in so easily to other pressures.
We, like North Yorkshire County Council, want Harrogate to benefit from investment, but not without consideration of all interested parties.
David Simister, CEO of Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce, added:
We are disappointed that our comments and alternative proposals have been totally ignored.
Town centre businesses continue to suffer from the effects of Covid, and from late Spring will now have to endure significant disruption to deliver this Project. Initially, we were told it would take 12-months, but only last week it was reported the work could creep into 2024!
Harrogate has a unique charm, and that’s the magnet that draws visitors from all over the country to it. However, I fear what is being proposed has the danger of making this wonderful spa town indistinguishable from any other town or city in the UK.
County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Access, said:
This is about making these town centres more accessible and welcoming, and the many benefits that can bring. All three schemes are intended to bring a range of improvements. As well as increasing opportunities for cycling, walking and the use of public transport, they set out to improve the public realm and make the town centres still more attractive to residents and visitors. In turn, these measures will boost the towns’ economic prospects.
This project is a great example of working together to deliver benefits to residents and businesses. We have listened and responded to feedback from the public consultations and are confident people will be pleased with the results.