New Harrogate cycle path 'delay' claims rejected

A new cycle path could alleviate car traffic on Otley Road in Harrogate.
A new cycle path could alleviate car traffic on Otley Road in Harrogate.

Fears that plans to transform the area near Harrogate's Pinewoods with a new cycle path are facing delays have been dismissed by the council.

Worried members of Harlow and Pannal Ash Residents Association say they are concerned at what they describe as the lack of progress on the proposed Otley Road cycle path and junction improvements which, they say, North Yorkshire County Council said would be happening in spring 2018 after it received sizable Department for Transport funding for sustainable transport last year.


But North Yorkshire County Council said there had been no delay - residents were simply jumping the gun over this vital part of Harrogate's green strategy which could help alleviate car traffic.
In terms of the funding for the new cycle path, the situation was not as was being portrayed.


County Coun Don Mackenzie, executive member for access, said: "HAPARA have suggested that they and their residents are being kept in the dark. Not at all.
"The £3.2m award from the Government’s National Productivity Investment Fund, topped up to £4.6m by NYCC, Harrogate Borough Council and developer contributions was made available to NYCC only in April 2018 to be spent over the following two years.


"As soon as our Highways officers have firm plans to publish, then we will do so. We have been sharing very early designs with the Harrogate Cycle Forum to ensure that their practical knowledge of the needs of cyclists is taken into account.


"We should soon be in a position to make those initial designs public in order to receive the views of residents. There is no question of work being carried out without everyone having an opportunity to comment.


"Similarly, the initial designs for the junction improvements will be published when ready."


But members of Harlow and Pannal Ash Residents Association, which was formed 29 years ago to represent the community in planning matters, in particular, say the community is not being consulted enough on the new cycle path.


The full statement from the HAPARA reads: “Our residents were given a number of assurances that plans for both the Otley Road cycle path and junction improvements would be made available in Spring 2018 but we are still awaiting any details.


"We know draft plans are being discussed with other local interest groups but unfortunately not with those who will be most impacted, local residents.
"The committee and a number of local residents have attempted a number of times to obtain more details and any idea of timelines but information is not being made available.


"This matter has now been formally raised with local councillors as residents are becoming increasingly concerned final plans will be published without the views of residents being accounted for. ”

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