'£30 million' is cost of Parliament Street reverting to two-way traffic in Harrogate, says councillor

North Yorkshire County Council has for the first time  revealed the likely costs of realising Harrogate’s dream of turning the clock back to two-way traffic on Parliament Street - and it’s in the millions.

Friday, 4th June 2021, 11:50 am
Traffic in Parliament Street in Harrogate as it is now. The cost of change would be high, claims a leading county councillor.

Although Coun Don Mackenzie told the Harrogate Advertiser the council has no knowledge of any previous official study into reverting the one-way sections of the A61 to the pre-1971 status quo,.

But he did spell out the likely costs associated with taking such any such proposal further now.

The eye-watering figures Coun Mackenzie quotes dwarf the £7.9m set aside for the current Gateway project for traffic alterations which have triggered recent calls for the return of two-way traffic on this key route through town.

Estimates provided by Coun Mackenzie include:

Initial conceptual study in the plans: £50, 000;

Outline Business Case: Up to £350, 000;

Detailed designs: £500, 000.

Likely scheme construction costs including utility company relocations: At least £30 million.

The county council’s executive member of transport has been under heavy criticism from readers and local groups including Harrogate Civic Society over his stead-fast refusal to examine the idea of religning the A61 once more.

Among the concerned Harrogate Advertiser readers who have raised the same point in recent weeks, lawyer Russell Davidson argues the county council’s refusal to commission a proper detailed study on the subject is “policy dogma”.

Supporters of the A61 idea fear a knock-on effect on traffic in neighbouring streets in Harrogate town centre if car use ends up being restricted in areas such as Station Parade and James Street as part of the Gateway plans.

They argue reverting all of the A61 through Harrogate to two-way traffic would alleviate future congestion resulting from possible new car restrictions on Station Parade.

But Coun Mackenzie argues the focus of the Gateway project, funded by the Government’s Transforming Cities Fund, was never simply on traffic and that the A61 is a separate issue which could not be funded by the TCF money.

He also says leaving the traffic situation in Station Parade is not an option, even if it were feasible to bring back two-way traffic to West Park and Parliament Street.

Coun Mackenzie said: “The focus of the Gateway project isn’t car restrictions, it is providing high quality public realm, active travel infrastructure and linkage within the town centre which necessitates some impact on vehicle movements.

"The TCF proposals are transformational proposals in how they relate to the town centre.

"Station Parade is a key factor in how people access the town centre and how the rail and bus stations connect with the wider town centre.

"A scenario where nothing is done on Station Parade hasn’t been modelled from a traffic perspective."

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