Cllr Michael Schofield
Cllr Michael Schofield

Cllr Michael Schofield on the Harrogate Station Gateway Project

19 April 2023

Cllr Michael Schofield (Liberal Democrats) has represented Harlow and St George’s division of North Yorkshire County Council in May 2022.

The Harrogate Station Gateway Project is a program of works in the town centre of Harrogate, near to the railway station, that is aimed at making it more cycling and walking friendly, and more difficult for motorists. The PDF document below is the source document for the  proposals

Cllr Michael Schofield said:

I cannot and will not vote for the Station Gateway in its current guise for a number of reasons all of which in my humble opinion carry just as much weight in my reasoning.

  1. It is my belief that there are other plans out there created by retired professionals in the field of “Urban Design” that have not been considered and are more sympathetic to not only the “Public Realm” but also the businesses in the Town Centre. We have been told it is the plan on the table or nothing which is very undemocratic when other plans are available that should be considered.
  2. To my dismay, there has been NO BUSINESS IMPACT ASSESSMENT/REPORT. As a small independent business that over the last 6 years has had to deal with numerous road closures for many reasons be it new housing, junction improvements, an aborted cycle scheme and others I know first hand the cost these disruptions bring. Having teetered on financial obscurity I can not vote for something that over the 18 months or so of implementation could lead to financial hardship on our local businesses without any recompense. Our independents were once thriving, they have have had to deal with Covid and the Cost of Living Crisis! I therefore cannot vote for something that may potentially deal them yet another blow.
  3. The Costs. Since its conception the costs of raw materials and labour has risen. Unless corners are cut who will foot the bill? It is unfair to ask other Towns within North Yorkshire to foot the bill at the expense of their residents as it is also unfair to expect the good people of Harrogate to foot the bill.
  4. The Contractors. WSP designed the now aborted Otley Road Cycle Way. This is a globally recognised company who cannot even design the Cycle Way in accordance with regulations so they do not fill me with confidence.
  5. TransDev. The scheme is also meant to benefit TransDev, WHY? TransDev heavily invested in buses not fit for the Harrogate Roads and now expects yet again Council to help them out. Bus services are being cut or re-routed because of congestion and timings. The fleet in which they invested in is not fit for purpose on the residential roads of Harrogate. Mini “HOPPER” style buses would have been the prudent purchase for a number of routes including Bilton and Harlow Hill. I accept the larger buses are required for the arterial routes such as Harrogate to Knaresborough but not really for the residential streets.



  1. Harrogate town centre is a mess that is really unpleasant to visit. A dual carriageway cutting up either side of the town centre, a neglected pedestrianised bit and a “premium” street that has some decent shops, but is a horrible place to spend any time (it’s a car park). Our councillor’s way to fix this is ….. do nothing. That’s why Harrogate town centre is in decline. Other towns have made more of their heritage, made them attractive places to visit and shop. Leeds, York, Skipton, Halifax, Hebden Bridge are all better towns that are just on our doorstep and have councillors and businesses in them that invest in their town to improve it. It’s a pain that we have to get in the car/on the train to visit these places for shopping/leisure, it would be much easier if we had a decent town centre. But looks like it’s just going to get worse and worse.

  2. Disappointing. We need change and we need it soon, the town is dying because it is designed around cars. All the thriving towns and cities in Europe are designed around people. While the gateway is not perfect and the project should rightly be held to account it is frustrating that your voice is now only coming to the fore on the eve of a decision. This council has got to start acting.

  3. At last a Councillor with some common sense and who can see through this ‘ridiculous project’! Let’s hope he does put his vote where his mouth is as so many councillors don’t! I would also like to add that at no point have the disabled community being involved/consulted with for the Gateway Project or any others. We are always completely forgotten and ignored! This project is aimed at those who can ‘walk, cycle or get a bus’ – many of us are unable to do any of these due to our disabilities and having our bus service removed which was our lifeline. How does the Gateway Project’ benefit us? It is discrimination and I for one, am appalled at those in the consultation and decision making of this! This Councillor is totally correct in saying why should Transdev benefit yet again? They do absolutely nothing for the disabled and elderly residents of Harrogate! Quite the opposite infact! Refusing to put on a bus service because too many of us use ‘concessionary bus passes’ which doesn’t make the route profitable!! Yet they get subsidised for this which is nearly as much as the £2 cap currently on all bus fares!! And yes a ‘Hoppa style bus’ would serve these smaller estates much better. It’s about time someone started to listen and take us more seriously – life is hard enough right now!

  4. I totally agree with you. Also when they were in the Victoria center for people to look at the plans and voice their opinion, I ask to see the traffic survey, they couldn’t produce one, which I said to them that they hadn’t done one. How can you make major changes without a traffic survey. I have been saying for a long time that we need a complete bypass, which will take unnecessary traffic away from wetherby Road and Skipton Road and through town. Then a project like this can be considered. To me this project is starting at the end, not the beginning.

  5. At least Mr Schofield speaks with a certain amount of Knowledge of the issues that this May and will cause.
    Anyone who is living in Harrogate will know that the infrastructure is falling apart.Our once thriving Town Centre has shops shutting down or becoming Hairdressers or Coffee shops.
    After Covid people’s shopping habits have changed but we need to encourage multinationals to come to Harrogate and supplement our small enterprises.

    I have no problem with people trying to make Harrogate a place to visit and spend a day shopping but the people making these decisions are in the most the people who overseen the demise of the Town Centre and infrastructure. Not a good start.

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