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Addressing traffic congestion around Harrogate & Knaresborough

November 10, 2018 5:28 PM

The increasing levels of traffic congestion in Harrogate and Knaresborough affect the lives of thousands of residents on a daily basis. We have reached the stage where we no longer have the luxury of being able to do nothing. We need to find a long-term, sustainable solution that protects our environment, reduces congestion and encourages people out of their cars.

Improvement of public transport links, better cycling routes, staggering of school hours and a Park & Ride scheme are the sorts of initiatives that all need to be carefully considered. Whatever solution is adopted, it must solve the problems of congestion rather than just moving them around.

The proposals for a Harrogate relief road came back for discussion at a public meeting held last Thursday at the Cairn Hotel. North Yorkshire County Councillors were asked for their views on the two remaining options: Option E which is an inner relief road, or Option B which is a package of sustainable measures in the town centre without the inclusion of a relief road. A range of views were heard which will now be considered by the NYCC Executive followed by a public consultation on the proposals.

Nidd Gorge

The Harrogate & Knaresborough Lib Dems have long held serious concerns about the major environmental impact of an inner relief road in the Nidd Gorge and surrounding area. A detailed plan of a proposed route is yet to be provided and will not be available until after decision on funding has been made by the Government. Cllr David Goode who represents Knaresborough said, "The discussion paper said nothing about the environmental and wellbeing impact of putting a road through a well-loved green corridor between Harrogate and Knaresborough resulting in a significant loss of natural habitat and green spaces."

Whatever plans are to go forward, it is essential that a proper public consultation takes place. All those affected by the proposals must be able to have a say and make sure their views are taken into account before a final decision is made. Cllr Geoff Webber, Leader of the Lib Dem group on NYCC, said, "We still have grave concerns about the environmental impact of any inner relief road route on the Nidd Gorge and Greenway. However, we support public consultation on any proposals that North Yorkshire's Conservative Executive eventually decide to submit to the Government for funding."