: Waiting for next track...

: Waiting for next track...

Otley Road cycle route progresses

Otley Road cycle route progresses

Published by Local Democracy Reporter Jacob Webster at 2:15pm 14th July 2020. (Updated at 2:16pm 14th July 2020)

A cycle route in Harrogate - first approved in 2017 - has made progress after a series of delays.

  • Three million pounds of Government funds were secured for the project three years ago.
  • Conflicts about a strip of Parkland on the Stray have caused delays.
  • The council says it has found a solution.

A troubled project to create a cycling network in Harrogate has finally made some prolonged progress after three plots of land were identified to help overcome a major hurdle caused by a historic law protecting the Stray.

North Yorkshire County Council first secured more than £3million of government cash to build the two-way Otley Road Cycle Route in 2017 and it has since hit a series of delays, from drawn out discussions with worried residents to works from utility companies on the main road.

But the most significant of setbacks came as the council struggled to reach an agreement with the Duchy of Lancaster –  the ancient body responsible for managing the Stray – about a strip of the parkland being used for the cycle path.

Officials at Harrogate Borough Council have now chosen three areas of land which they hope can be used as part of a land exchange with the Duchy to finally get the project underway.

Senior councillors at the authority this week look set to sign off a public consultation on the three options which would see verges near St James Drive, Arthurs Avenue or Wetherby Road become designated as Stray land.

Coun Don Mackenzie, executive member for access at the county council, said the Wetherby Road land next to the war memorial is the authority’s preferred option.

He said:

“Getting this resolved is the key – we have been desperate to get started on this in excess of a year now.

“The cycle path will be on both sides of Otley Road but the issue is on the northern side, the verges are Stray land. We need to replace it with land that is acceptable to the Duchy.

“The land near the hospital is our preferred option. It is continuous with the cycle route and if the other two options were to become Stray land, residents living there would have a fair bit of restrictions if perhaps they wanted to make a little entrance to their driveway.”

Coun Mackenzie said designs for the majority of the cycle route have been completed and added he was hopeful a large part of the project would be finished by the end of the year.

The county council and housing developers are both contributing cash to the project which once completed will have cost around £4.6million.

It comes as the county council last week confirmed plans for a temporary cycle lane on Beech Grove when the authority revealed it had only secured half of the £266,000 it was being offered in the first round of a government fund to boost cycling and walking.

The authority is now preparing a second bid for more than £1million for long-term improvements under the Department for Transport’s (DfT) emergency active travel fund.

This could include cycle routes along Oatlands Drive, Victoria Avenue and a dedicated cycle lane along the A59 between Mother Shipton’s Cave and Harrogate Golf Club.