While keen to support ‘sustainable’ measures to tackle Harrogate road congestion, two impoertant Harrogate residents groups say plans for thousands of new houses mean green measures alone would be insufficent for the western part of Harrogate.
HAPARA (Harrogate and Pannal Ash Residents Association) has welcomed a new option for a western relief road linking the B6162 Otley Road to the A61 Leeds Road in the latest phase of North Yorkshire County Council's Harrogate Congestion Study process.
David Siddans of HAPARA (Harrogate and Pannal Ash Residents Association) said the future transport issues on the west side of Harrogate were “completely different” from those which had been involved in the debate about the potential relief road to the north-east of Harrogate as part of North Yorkshire County Council’s recent public consultation on traffic.
Mr Siddans said: “We all agree on the necessity to tackle congestion, the imperative to reduce carbon emissions and the need to address air pollution.
“But to make any significant impact, the measures needed to persuade people out of their cars in sufficient numbers would have to be radical, indeed.
“We simply have to be realistic about the scale of the challenge. In total up to 3,000 new trips will be generated from new housing alone in the peak hour.”
HAPARA, which is liaising closely with Pannal groups on traffic issues, is pleased the county coluncil is now looking at developments on the west side of Harrogate.
But it says a new link road would make the biggest difference.
Mr Siddans said: “Sustainable measures have their part to play but we see no alternative to the creation of a purpose-built link to take the large proportion of the generated traffic heading south and east away from these communities.
“That will still leave extra traffic on routes to town but, in time, some of the measures in the congestion study could make an impact there.”
Pannal and Burn Bridge Parish Council is also concerned about the impact of housing on traffic in Pannal and the western side of Harrogate.
But, as yet, the parish council has made no decision on its views on a new road, though it welcomes North Yorkshire County Council's move to include its 'patch' in traffic congestion discussions.
Parish council chair Howard West said: "The possibility of a link road between the B6162 Otley Road and the A61 Leeds Road has not yet been debated by Pannal and Burn Bridge Parish Council as we only knew about North Yorkshire County Council's decision to investigate congestion on the west of Harrogate on August 23.
"Opinions on what the parish council may or may not prefer are completely premature.
"The investigation by NYCC is certainly welcome as it reflects the wishes of residents already fed up with the long queues, irresponsible driving and air pollution in our twin villages.
"For NYCC to propose an investigation was a complete turn around from the situation a few months ago when all eyes were on other options and our long-standing congestion problem wasn’t even on the agenda.
"Once we have more information from NYCC, then we can decide what may be appropriate and discuss options at a parish council meeting. Until then, we cannot comment further.
"We’re exceptionally grateful to NYCC for holding one of their exhibitions in Pannal and to the Highways leader coming to our parish council meeting to explain their rationale at the time.
"We look forward to cooperating and working with NYCC to establish the optimum solution to our congestion rather than be presented with a fait accompli.
"It is however likely that the best solutions will involve public transportation, sustainable measures and infrastructure together, rather than any one in isolation."