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Harrogate residents launch fresh campaign as congestion study gets underway

Harrogate residents launch fresh campaign as congestion study gets underway

Published by Lisa Darvill at 12:51pm 18th April 2019. (Updated at 10:17am 20th April 2019)

A group of Harrogate residents have launched a fresh campaign in response to a council congestion survey. 

  • They're unhappy about the option of an inner relief road near Nidd Gorge 
  • The Nidd Gorge Community Action Group have been arguing against the idea for years 
  • In response to the latest consultation, which launched this week, they've set up a new group 
  • HALT - The Harrogate and Knaresborough Alliance for Less Traffic - has been set up to argue the case against an inner relief road 
  • North Yorkshire County Council says the consultation isn't just about the potential for a new road and no firm decisions have been made

The Nidd Gorge Community Action Group have been campaigning against the idea for a new road near Nidd Gorge for over two years. 

North Yorkshire County Council launched a long-awaited traffic consultation on Monday.

The online survey is asking people if they think congestion is a problem and how it should be addressed.

Two packages of measures are being put forward - one of which includes the option of an inner relief road between Harrogate and Knaresborough. 

Whilst the council says no route for this potential relief road is being put forward, it has identified a "corridor of interest", which passes near Nidd Gorge

But campaigners claim any development in this area would have a massive impact on the Nidderdale Greenway, Nidd Gorge and the surrounding area of Bilton Fields.  

They also claim the road is part of bigger plans to build an M62 alternative between Yorkshire and Lancashire and add a new road will not improve congestion

The group have distributed leaflets to households in the area to put forward their case. 

Chair of the Nidd Gorge Community Action Group, Chris Kitson said

"If the council were able to pervail with their message then people would be led to believe the road would benefit congestion, when it doesn't, because relief roads do not solve congestion

"So I think people are being asked to tick a box saying vote here if you want a road and less congestion. 

"The danger is that if they do that, the council will feel they're justified."

Chris adds the group are urging people to fill in the consultation, voting for sustainable measures. 

He added: 

"If they took the road off the table we can get on with improving our towns. 

"We want cheaper, quicker, greener and much more effective solutions than a road.

"We want sustainable improvements to our transport network."

North Yorkshire County Council says this consultation isn't just about the potential for a new road, and no firm decisions have been made. 

It says both packages, which both include sustainable options, are at relatively early stages of development and they are "wholly flexible"

Before the consultation was launched, Councillor Don MacKenzie, Executive Member for Highways and Passenger Transport told Stray FM: 

"This engagement exercise shouldn't be a yes or no consultation on whether people feel a relief road is or isn't the answer."

He added: 

"Some people will feel with all of the house building and increasing business going on, perhaps now is the time to consider investing in a new road. Others of course, are against it. 

"Either way, we want to hear your views.

"At this stage, North Yorkshire County Council is totally neutral on this matter." 

You can fill in the consultation at www.northyorks.gov.uk/harrogate-congestion-engagement

You can find out more about the Nidd Gorge Community Action Group at www.niddgorgeca.org

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