One Harrogate street's roadworks hell

Residents annoyed at road closures caused by current house building in the Kingsley Road area of Harrogate: John Hansard, Victoria Newsome with her son Billy and Tim Redshaw. (Picture by Gerard Binks)
Residents annoyed at road closures caused by current house building in the Kingsley Road area of Harrogate: John Hansard, Victoria Newsome with her son Billy and Tim Redshaw. (Picture by Gerard Binks)

Fed-up Harrogate residents facing not one but two housing developments on their doorstep have described the situation as “absolute lunacy.”

The impact of the building work at Kingsley Meadows by Barratt Homes and Kingsley Farm development by Stonebridge Homes has been magnified by the closure of nearby Kingsley Drive for the laying of new pipelines by Yorkshire Water.

'Absolute lunancy' - Road works on Kingsley Road in Harrogate.

'Absolute lunancy' - Road works on Kingsley Road in Harrogate.

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Other areas of Harrogate may also be feeling the pain of house building but resident John Hansard said living in Kingsley Road was like “living in the middle of chaos.”

He said: “I realise that there needs to be a quota of ‘affordable housing’ but does there really need to be so many developments in the same area, at the same time?

“Our lives have been turned into a general misery of dug up roads, traffic lights, road closures, rat run traffic every day speeding traffic, a filthy road, noise and diggers going all day long, our cars getting covered in muck and dust and contractors parking heavy machinery on the pavement over double yellow lines. It’s absolute madness.”

Blame has fallen as much on the local authorities as the developers themselves.

Traffic chaos caused by road works on Kingsley Road in Harrogate.

Traffic chaos caused by road works on Kingsley Road in Harrogate.

Resident Katie Shaw said she had contacted Harrogate Borough Council to complain.

She said: “The estate has work happening all the time, with the diggers usually starting straight after 7am when the workers are on site and all day Saturday. It’s very loud and it makes it impossible for the local residents to even open their windows.

“When I contacted the council to ask them to speak to them, I was batted about between the planning office and the environmental health - both of whom blamed each other.”

But a spokesperson for Harrogate Borough Council said the rules for working hours were clear.

The spokesperson said: “There is no standard rule as to when work on a development may start each but is typically between 7am and 8am.

“When the site at Kingsley Road was originally considered no hours of work were specified and a 7am start time was imposed as part of the planning conditions.

“The developers have stated that ‘no works that will be audible to the site boundary will be undertaken, nor any deliveries to or collection from the site, between 7am and 8am Monday to Saturday and 1pm and 6pm Saturday’.

“The development at Kingsley Farm does have a 8am start restriction. No work on either site is permitted on Sundays or bank holidays.”

Mr Hansard said a diversion sign by North Yorkshire County Council had made matters even worse.

He said: “The county council in its infinite wisdom have decided to reroute traffic which would normally go up Kingsley Drive, usually used as a rat run to avoid Starbeck level crossing, along Kingsley Road which completely log jams our road.”

But Coun Don Mackenzie, North Yorkshire County Council’s executive member for access, said he sympathised with residents but said the temporary traffic arrangements seemed “reasonable.”

Coun Mackenzie said: “I understand the frustration of local residents during the construction of this substantial residential development.

“There are of course other locations in and around Harrogate and Knaresborough where such developments are causing similar disruption. The area is growing quickly.

“The temporary traffic lights at the end of Kingsley Road are to allow for electric installation and are scheduled to be completed by the middle of March.”

A spokesperson for Stonebridge Homes said: “Whilst there are three companies currently working in the area, Stonebridge Homes are doing all they can to mitigate any disruption within their control.”

A spokesperson at Barratt Developments Yorkshire East said:

"It's a particularly busy time on Kingsley Road at present, with third party works to a water main and multiple housebuilders working in the same area.

"We do, however, appreciate the concerns of local residents, apologise for any disruption caused and appreciate everyones' patience during the construction process.

"We are confident that the benefits to the local community will soon be seen through the provision of high-quality housing, which will help to address the housing shortage in the region."