West Harrogate Highways Stakeholder Engagement Meeting - 1 October 2021

West of Harrogate Co-ord Group (WHCC) Comments

StakeholderEngage011021WA comments.pdf 

NYCC Highways Responsibilities 

NYCC Highways presentation 14.6.21.pdf

Questions posed by the Parish Council with responses made by NYCC at the YLCA Branch Meeting Monday 14th June 2021:

Pannal and Burn Bridge Parish Council

1. Where are we with regard to the HTIP (Harrogate Transport Improvement Plan)?

The Harrogate Transport Improvement Plan (HTIP) followed on from the Harrogate relief road stage one and options assessment report, and then subsequent to that, the Harrogate Congestion Study. The plan has looked in more detail at various work streams to consider how to reduce congestion and its impacts in Harrogate and Knaresborough.

Whilst HTIP is a study looking at current traffic issues, due to the costs involved many of the projects included would be delivered in the medium to long term.

HTIP covered:

• Behaviour change

• Cycling and walking

• Bus priority

• Junctions

• Park and ride

• Highways

Scoping work is underway to develop a corridor approach on the A61 and develop a Strategic Outline Business Case to enable bids for any appropriate funding opportunities. The work will focus on cycling and walking, bus priority and park and ride and will also consider what junction improvements are required to facilitate improved sustainable transport options.

2. Where are we with regard to the IDP? We know this is an integral part of the West Harrogate Parameters Plan so suggest we may not see the IDP separately.

HBC is the lead for the WHPP. The highways input into the Parameters Plan is a limited part of the overall work with many other parties also having to contribute e.g. Education, Sports provision, utility companies. As has been conveyed to community groups previously, NYCC and HBC are working with the Promoters to get an understanding of their projects and likely impacts from which infrastructure requirements / mitigation can be further considered. Meetings with Stakeholders will take place in due course as indicated previously.

3. Has anything been taken up with regard to the intervention suggestions included in our "Transport for the West" document?

The council is mindful of the Transport for the West document which sets out many of the community concerns and the document will play its part on us fully understanding the overall impacts of the developments on the highway network.

4. Is there any information with regard to the suggestion of a mini roundabout at the junction of Rosset Green Lane and Yew Tree Lane?

This junction has been identified for potential improvement as part of the on-going West of Harrogate Parameters Plan work. At this time of writing, work is still on-going developing the parameters plan which will ultimately be shared at a stakeholder meeting. A mini roundabout would assist with junction visibility and would also act as a traffic calming feature helping to reduce traffic speed on Yew Tree Lane in the vicinity of the Former Police Training College site.

5. Has there been any progress on the Park and Ride?

All of the proposals in the Harrogate Transport Improvement Programme (HTIP) are in the feasibility stage and further work will be commissioned this summer. Nevertheless, a park and ride remains one of the measures we are considering to reduce traffic and ease congestion in and around Harrogate.

The development of park and ride proposals would require more detailed modelling, testing of options and public consultation. We need to develop these plans along with other HTIP priorities such as cycling and walking, bus priority and junction improvements.

Earlier this year we recommended that a major schemes business case for funding by the DfT should be developed. The cost of the scheme would exceed our capital funding available in existing budgets.

Our officers are continuing to consider both the A61 and A59 to assess ways of improving provision for pedestrians and cyclists, provide bus priority and also seek to tackle some of the most problematic junctions.

By turning our attention to active travel models we hope to reduce congestion and improve the network without the need for additional, costly construction.

6. What changes have been made to the Otley Road Cycle way following LTN 1/20? What is the timescale for stages 2 and 3?

WSP are working through the Road safety audit with a view to publishing these findings on our web site. This is to address the design issues that were raised when assessing the scheme against the LTN1/20. The road safety audit should be complete and on our web site by the end of this month.

Phase 1: We are currently working with a number of utility companies to ensure necessary diversion work is undertaken before the construction of the Harlow Moor Road junction Improvement and Phase 1 of the cycle route can begin, with this in mind we are working towards an Autumn 2021 start date.

Phase 2: We are looking to reduce the amount of utilities that would need to be moved by reviewing the design options. Currently we do not have a confirmed start date for this section of works, but we are anticipating starting early 2022.

Phase 3: This is developer funded work, to be delivered as part of developments in the vicinity. We are still waiting for further confirmation regarding this.


HBC Estates response July 2021 to Parish Council wishlist for Park & Stride, Allotments, etc

"Thanks again for your time on the 22nd June where we met to listen to various proposals that you have for Council owned land at Pannal.

We have now had the chance to undertake a site visit of site PN20 and the wider area of land at Pannal as well as discussing the entire proposal with colleagues in planning.

Our view remains that the use of this land is best determined by future reviews of the Local Plan that take into account a broad range of evidence and also allow for structured consultation and engagement. At this stage therefore we cannot support your aspirations for the use of land we discussed.

Notwithstanding that, there are also practical factors that prevent the plans you suggested in the meeting last month. These are set out below.

First of all, you enquired as to the land referenced PN20 for use as allotments, which could be a temporary use. PN20 is allocated for educational use in the current Local Plan to allow for the expansion of Pannal Primary School, should the education authority (NYCC) deem there to be a requirement to do so

Given the very recent adoption of the Local Plan, we consider that it is premature to divert away from the allocated use.

You also suggested a car park on the land to the rear of the church, for the purposes of use by the allotmenteers, a “park and stride” facility for the school, and use by parents visiting Pannal Juniors FC. This area of land is subject to a lease agreement with a tenant Farmer and is being actively farmed. With a commercial agreement in place, land cannot simply be repossessed by the Council for alternative use.

You made clear that the Parish Council were unable to put forward any funding for the above proposals, and would therefore look to HBC to bear all associated costs.

Unfortunately, HBC have no funds available to support these plans.

Finally, there was a request for a bridge across the beck, accessing the rear of the site occupied by Pannal Juniors FC. Again, there is no funding available for this and despite possibly linking onto a public footpath, land would need to be used that is currently subject to a commercial agreement with the farmer.

In light of the above, HBC would not be in a position to assist with the Parish Councils aspirations. I appreciate that this is not the response you were hoping for, however this remains our position at this time."


The Parish Council note the following inaccuracies made by HBC, above:

  • We have never requested all the land at PN20 for allotments – maybe a third of it at most.
  • The area of land enclosed by Clark Beck Close, the churchyard, Pannal Green houses, the Crimple and the fence to farmland is not actively farmed. It is an overgrown and seemingly unused area.
  • The area of land suggested for a nature area is not actively farmed as it is often too waterlogged to allow crops to be grown but would be a super nature wetland.
  • HBC has no money for any of the above projects – could that be because it doesn’t involve central Harrogate or cycling?



                                                                             CORRESPONDENCE REGARDING TRAFFIC CONGESTION


1) Copy of NYCC Principal Democratic Services Officer’s email dated 7th November 2019:

“As arranged by Cllr John Mann at this morning’s Committee meeting, please find below the combined response which officers of the County Council’s Business and Environmental Services Directorate had prepared to read out, at the meeting, in response to the questions put by Mr Dziabas and Parish Cllr Oswin. On behalf of colleagues, I apologise that the following officer response was not available when the item “Public Questions or Statements” was considered at this morning’s meeting.

Firstly I would like to clarify that the issues relating to development of housing in this area are a Harrogate Borough Council matter as the local plan and planning development control matters lie within their remit. We will continue to work with HBC on these, but feel it must be recognised that NYCC, whilst a consultee on the local plan and planning matters, do not have the ability to direct, or determine, any of the decisions on housing.

We are committed to working with HBC and developers to ensure a robust and rigorous transport assessment is undertaken for each of the Local Plan allocations, using the same approach and data to ensure outputs are comparable and importantly that cumulative impacts of the developments are considered. This should ensure a high confidence in the assessment the impact of the development on the surrounding highway network.

This will permit a robust evaluation of the traffic impacts and suitability of any mitigation measures in line with the requirements of the NPPF.

Moving onto the specifics of the recommendations resulting from the Harrogate Congestion Study work on the next phase, the Harrogate Transport Investment Programme (HTIP) is in the process of being formally commissioned. The HTIP covers a wide range of topics, as set out in the recommendations to Executive, and covers the same Harrogate and Knaresborough geographical  area as the congestion study, namely the whole of the Harrogate and Knaresborough urban area including the ‘western arc’. As is the case with all our work streams, the priority areas for the studies will be evidence based, and focussed on trying to deliver the greatest improvements in terms of congestion relief where it is most needed and I can assure you that full consideration will be given to the needs of the ‘western arc’.

Specifically, the HTIP will include an initial feasibility study into options for either a link road, or creation of additional capacity on the existing network in the western area. We do fully recognise the issues faced in the western area, and have already committed to working with the parish councils at the appropriate stage in the development of the studies.”  

2) Copy of the NYCC Principal Democratic Services Officer’s email transcription (13th Nov 2019):

 “Subsequent to my email of 7 November, I’ve now transcribed the comments which County Councillor Don Mackenzie (Executive Member) made at last Thursday’s Harrogate and Knaresborough Area Constituency Committee, in response to your statements and questions. A copy of the transcription is below for information.

County Councillor Don Mackenzie (the County Council’s Executive Member for Highways and Public Passenger Transport) made the following comments about the questions and statements presented to this meeting by the two members of the public:-

· County Councillor Don Mackenzie had sympathy for the comments made by the two members of the public and advised that he was familiar with such opinions. He highlighted that the County Council had very recently held a public engagement on the congestion study in Harrogate and Knaresborough. Over 15,500 replies had been received. The overwhelming opinion expressed in the responses was that the County Council should not be putting down more tarmac, and instead should be boosting sustainable and public transport. The results of the public engagement had been considered by the County Council’s Executive whose Members had agreed unanimously with the recommendations in the report presented to it, namely, for a mix of measures, but not a relief road for Harrogate.

· County Councillor Don Mackenzie regretted the fact that the public engagement exercise had almost become a question of ‘do we want a relief road, or do we not want a relief road?’. 78% of the respondents to the engagement had said that they did not want a relief road. Many had said they did not wish even to consider a bypass for Killinghall or a link road between the B6161 and the A61 (ie, the issue to which the questions from members of the public to today’s meeting had referred). However, the County Council’s Executive had decided to keep those options in because it was recognised that Killinghall was one of the fastest growing villages in North Yorkshire and was almost of small town proportions. As such, it was appropriate that the County Council looked at an improvement in the highways infrastructure in that location. County Councillor Don Mackenzie advised that he had considerable sympathy with the views expressed in the two questions and, in particular, that, if traffic was congested now, and thousands of more homes were going to be built, an enormous number of people would need to be transferred onto bikes, buses and rail in order to overcome the effects of congestion. He highlighted that, nevertheless, the public had delivered the clear message that the County Council should look, first and foremost, to boosting public transport and boosting sustainable transport.

· County Councillor Don Mackenzie advised that, whilst it might be considered that boosting public transport and sustainable transport were easy to do, as has been demonstrated in the report about the West Harrogate Transport Improvement Package, the County Council had been trying now, for a year, to develop an off-road cycle path between Beech Grove and Cardale Park and had met with considerable public opposition. He added that a lot of work was still required to persuade members of the public that boosting sustainable travel was an essential part of an overall solution to reduce congestion.

· Regarding the basic question which had been asked, namely, why didn’t the County Council look at providing a western relief road or some sort of infrastructure improvement in the west, County Councillor Don Mackenzie advised that the County Council’s consultants had clearly stated that the worst congestion was taking place on the A59 and the A661 (ie Skipton Road and Wetherby Road). On the west side of Harrogate, congestion was not being experienced to the same extent, although rat-running was a problem. The County Council’s Executive had agreed to make an assessment of a link road between the B6161 and the A61 Leeds Road, which County Councillor Don Mackenzie thought was eminently sensible. Regarding the boosting of public transport, the County Council was doing all it could. However, the County Council did not currently subsidise any buses in the Harrogate area because all were run on a commercial basis. County Councillor Don Mackenzie advised that the buses were not full, which showed that plenty of bus provision already existed, but that it was not being used. This showed that the issue was to alter people’s behaviour in order to persuade them not to travel by car but to prefer to catch a bus or catch a train. The County Council’s Executive was also looking at the rail services and had set aside income from parking surpluses to fund improvements to the Harrogate rail line to enable two trains an hour in both directions. County Councillor Don Mackenzie believed that no one thing could be done to get rid of traffic congestion and that it would be the cumulative effects of lots of measures that would assist. He advised that some measures would come forward more quickly than others.

· Finally, with regard to 4,000 new homes which the two members of the public had said were going to be built, County Councillor Don Mackenzie highlighted that many had not yet been given planning permission. He advised that it was when the planning application was submitted to Harrogate Borough Council that specific measures relating to boosting public transport and/or sustainable transport needed to be addressed.”

 3)     The Parish Council’s email response, dated 19th November 2019, to the NYCC Principal Democratic Services Officer (with a copy to John Mann, Chairman of the Constituency Meeting):


Dear Ms Gladstone

Thank you for the email communications relating to the recent constituency meeting. We have analysed the content and request that the attached statement be forwarded to attendees to ensure clarification on some points.

We know you will have transcribed an accurate account of the meeting but nuances are very important in critical situations. In the attachment we refer to views and interpretations, some of which appear to be hard-line standpoints, not necessarily based on fact. Our vice chairman, Cllr Dave Oswin was present at the meeting and it is our considered view that anomalies should be corrected before they're perpetuated and treated as facts. This is no criticism of your transcription in any way; it must be exceptionally difficult to sort opinion from reality. Some of the comments made by councillors/officers however, appear to be less conciliatory than helpful.

We trust the attached will serve as a reminder of the facts relating to congestion in our area.

Kind regards

Howard West

Chairman, Pannal and Burn Bridge Parish Council

“Attached statement” as sent:

Pannal and Burn Bridge Parish Council

Comments on Cllr Don Mackenzie’s observations as highlighted by Ruth Gladstone......

Cllr Mackenzie has sympathy for the points raised by Mr Rene Dziabas and Cllr Dave Oswin, as do no doubt, many responsible councillors. We welcome recognition of our concerns.

Cllr Mackenzie stated that in the recent consultation, the overwhelming response was not to put down more tarmac. The consultation was so skewed to the Nidd Gorge proposal that activists railed against this particular proposal rather than anything to the west of Harrogate. There will always be protests about road-building, whether valid or not.

It was stated that Cllr Mackenzie again raises the spectre of a relief road for Harrogate. Is this his viewpoint or the interpretation of the author in transcription? If the former, why does he (or the executive committee) constantly try to elevate a wish for infrastructure to that of a relief road? If the latter, this misapprehension should be quashed once and for all. 78% of respondents stated they didn’t want the Nidd Gorge ruined, not that they didn’t want any help to alleviate congestion anywhere else. Cllr Mackenzie indicated that the public had delivered the clear message that sustainable solutions were first on the list. What the public really indicated was that a significant number of people railed against any form of road construction to the east and north of Harrogate that would ruin a scenic gorge. They would prefer sustainable solutions to improve congestion in the towns of Harrogate and Knaresborough and that any construction work near the Nidd gorge was unacceptable and indeed unnecessary. There was no real opportunity to comment on anything other than the options given. Those did not include the west of Harrogate. Again, Ms Gladstone’s résumé states, “why didn’t the County Council look at providing a western relief road” This is probably because they were never asked to. Why is this line being perpetuated?

It was only at the behest of P&BBPC that a roadshow came to Pannal as anything for our area had been deliberately excluded from the consultation. At the roadshow, the consultants were really surprised that we have a congestion problem as we assume their brief was to concentrate on the north-eastern relief road. Such interpretations of the consultation replies, as have been postulated, just don’t hold water.

The final statement about many of the planned 4000 houses didn’t yet have planning permission just sums up the lack of joined-up thinking between HBC and NYCC. To state action could be taken when planning applications are submitted, might not be too late to consider new bus routes and sustainable measures but for infrastructure, it would be years too late. More than half of the number already have planning permission.

Cllr Mackenzie is quite correct in many of his assertions but the way in which some comments have been reported tend towards the inflammatory rather than conciliatory.

The question, as posed in the P&BBPC submission remains unanswered, namely, what monies are available for infrastructure to the west of Harrogate? Given that the Nidd gorge relief road has been cancelled for the foreseeable future, that money must now be available for use elsewhere.

 Simple indisputable facts remain:

 1. Somewhere in the region of 4000 houses will be built to the west of Harrogate over the forthcoming decade or so.

2. Very few of these people will work in Harrogate; most will travel to Leeds.

3. There is no station near the western arc other than Pannal and the roads to that station are incapable of taking today’s traffic without congestion, let alone when all those extra houses are built.

4. The new housing allocations and granted planning permissions and indeed, existing and planned employment sites, amount to a sizeable settlement. Were such a settlement elsewhere, provision of road infrastructure would be the number one priority. Why is this not a number one priority here?

5. While sustainable transport solutions may help the congestion and are welcomed, on their own they cannot and will not solve the overall congestion problems from this settlement.

6. Much of the peak hour traffic includes those commuting to Cardale Park and surrounding areas to avoid the A61 and to Rossett, Ashville and other schools as well as the exodus and return to and from Leeds.

7. Anyone who thinks those new residents will get on their bicycles to go to Harrogate or Hornbeam Park stations to catch a train to Leeds is severely misguided.

8. Anyone who thinks those residents would cycle to a park and ride near the A61/A658 junction to catch a 36 bus to Leeds is also deluded.

9. There is no suitable adequate parking for Pannal railway station. Residential streets are already full of cars from commuters.

10. People doing their weekly shopping will not use public transport or bicycles to go to supermarkets in and around Harrogate. They will use their own cars, not the Otley Road cycle path.

11. There are pinch points on existing roads which are impossible to mitigate without significant road construction work.

The second email, relating to the apology that NYCC’s officers’ responses were not available at the meeting, seeks to claim initially that HBC is responsible for houses and NYCC for roads yet there is no overarching traffic plan in place - which is essential before we’re gridlocked.

Officers’ comments relate to using the same approach and data for local plan allocations and transport provision. It is known that much of the traffic data used was flawed, as has been exposed and proven during the local plan examination.

We question the HTIP and terms of reference over the area covered in the congestion study. To our knowledge, the ‘western arc’ wasn’t even mentioned in the congestion study and the consultants didn’t even recognise a problem here – because they were probably directed away from this issue to other areas.

NYCC officers “have already committed to working with parish councils at the appropriate stage in the development of the studies”. That time is now. We’re here, ready to help; engage with us today and fix a meeting date please.







Pannal and Burn Bridge parishioner questions:

“I’m here because I’m fed up with the congestion in our area” (West of Harrogate) (100%). It became apparent that there exists a considerable and common feeling of frustration and anxiety – not just arising from the congestion difficulties experienced currently but also a feeling of great despondency that with the 3-4000 new houses to be built in the western arc area that if no effective measures are implemented the situation will become intolerable on a daily basis - but also doubt (based on practical experience) that any remedial measures will actually prove effective – even if their concerns are listened to.

Of the replies to reasons why congestion is a problem, responses were split –

Effects of new housing ignored by NYCC / continuing rat runs need improvement / environmental damage and air quality are issues for us too and not just for those in Harrogate and Knaresborough. Insufficient parking at stations increases congestion. 

Sustainability measures (for our patch) were considered unviable by many unless direct links to train and bus services were available. This has not been planned.

Key questions were:

1)              Why was there no representation from any public body or community group having views concerning the West of Harrogate in the original congestion study when self-interest groups were deemed to be key consultees?


(Responses in “red” made by NYCC Highways)

As part of the initial development of the congestion study in 2017 WSP (then Mouchel) on behalf of the County Council consulted over 100 local interest groups in the Harrogate and Knaresborough whether by e mail or through offers of a face to face meeting. This included residents’ associations from across the whole of Harrogate including the west of Harrogate. Unfortunately, due to a technology fault the exact details of who was contacted at each of the residents’ associations has been lost.

2) Why was a Western bypass summarily dismissed by NYCC? The congestion problem to the West of Harrogate existed more than 20 years ago and it has worsened and will continue to do so.

A western bypass option was considered, but the amount of traffic relief it provided to the A61 and associated ‘rat runs’ was very low (generally less than 5%) and the costs would potentially be high (we estimate c£100m). On that basis it would not be a viable option (cost to benefit would be low) and funding would be unlikely from DfT. One of the main issues is that the potential diversion that would be required to go ‘around’ Harrogate on a western bypass would take longer than the shorter but slower route through the town

3) Why then, has not one single measure been proposed to mitigate congestion to the West of Harrogate? To suggest a park and ride be sited at the former Dunlopillo site is ridiculous and therefore unsupportable!

Most of the measures suggested (with the exception of the relief road) would be implemented across the towns and would therefore have a beneficial impact to some extent on the west of Harrogate. Whilst the Dunlopillo site may not now be available for P&R we would investigate other potential sites adjacent to the A61. In addition, we have already given a commitment at the exhibitions to ‘have a look’ at possible shorter bypass routes linking A61 to Otley Road area.

It is also relevant that the West of Harrogate National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF) scheme on Otley Road will reduce congestion on Otley Road and hence probably / possible reduce rat running through the SW of Harrogate area.

4) It would appear that the cost profile of the Western bypass, in its original form, was the only measure considered by NYCC. A shorter road or alternative has not even been considered by NYCC. Why not? Even WSP consultants were unaware of the reports generated by other traffic consultants showing that the current road system already has junctions “operating” at over 100% capacity.

See above. The benefits to cost ratio for a western route would be very low and so DfT would be unlikely to fund it. However, as noted above, we have already made a commitment at the exhibitions to ‘consider’ possible shorter bypass routes linking A61 to Otley Road area.

5) Why has NYCC or its traffic consultants ignored the fact that - whatever improvements to roadways may be made to the lanes to the west of Pannal and Burn Bridge - there are pinch points that cannot be mitigated as they involve single lane bridges?

NYCC have not investigated at this time the details of any improvements to the lanes west of Pannal. However single lane bridges are not necessarily an unsurmountable problem as they can be widened or new bridges provided.

6) How does NYCC plan to accommodate traffic from 3000 to 4000 homes on the Western side of Harrogate attempting to get to Leeds and Bradford? This is the equivalent of a new settlement!

Our plan, as it stands, does not accommodate traffic from currently unapproved developments. It is for HBC / developers to demonstrate how the impact can be mitigated but we will, and are, working with HBC on this.

7) Why is a relief road to the North/East of Harrogate/Knaresborough even considered for 7% of vehicles when a far higher percentage of drivers cannot negotiate lanes to the West of Harrogate without severe delays?

The relief road that we are putting forward as an option is intended to deal mainly with the internal redistribution of internal traffic (which is approximately 48%), or traffic which starts or ends in Harrogate and Knaresborough, but also goes out of the district (c 45%) rather than the quoted 7% totally external traffic. Please see above for Western Bypass comments and shorter A61 to Otley Road route.

8) Is it true that the already costed and agreed roundabout at the junction of the A61 and Burn Bridge Lane has been cancelled because there hasn’t been a death or serious injury at the junction for a couple of years? There have been plenty of accidents but maybe few or none with emergency service involvement, hence they’re not recorded in accident statistics.

You will be aware, from my previous comments that indications are that the latest ghost island and deceleration lane scheme has reduced the injury accidents significantly and that a roundabout scheme is no longer needed. The ‘issue’ with a roundabout scheme (apart from affordability) is that it is likely to encourage more rat running as it would remove the disincentive of a priority junction and long queues to get out onto the A61. It would also interrupt the A61 flows causing more delays to A61 traffic. With regards to the NPIF funds, which you had also requested an update on, the likely enhancements are an improved junction arrangement at Harlow Moor Road. This provides greater capacity and is therefore a longer-term solution. In addition, it will also allow provision of more TOUCAN crossings on the Otley Road cycle track and minimise the need for ‘on road’ sections of cycle route.

9) Why is the A61, Harrogate’s primary route from the South, such a disgrace?

The County Council from various sources spends approximately £50m per year on maintaining the 9000k network of roads in the County. This is substantially more than our ‘allocation’ from Government as the County Council has been very successful in seeking additional funding for Highway maintenance. The A61, like all other roads in the County is maintained to an appropriate standard given the available funding levels. It should be noted that it is likely that there will be a major maintenance scheme on the A61 south of Harrogate included in next year’s programme  

10) Despite apparently only one person in the whole of Harrogate thinking the Oatlands A61 / Leadhall Lane junction works satisfactorily, why has nothing been done to improve it other than tinkering with traffic light sequence timing changes? Even HBC’s own traffic consultants state it cannot be mitigated in its present form.

The signals at the junction of Leeds Rd / Hookstone Rd were installed in 2014.  Vehicle detection at this junction is via inductive loops installed in the carriageway surface and using above-ground video units. The Microprocessor Optimised Vehicle Actuation (MOVA) signal control strategy is used, so that signal timings adapt and vary continuously throughout the day in response to traffic conditions/demand to maximise efficiency. The junction is continually monitored by the NYCC traffic signals team and timings can and are changed as and when there is an identified need to do so.

The current junction layout is designed as the best possible to maximise capacity given the highway extents and physical constraints.  Any substantial improvement to the junction would require major financial investment and land take, both of which are not achievable at this time.

In addition: questions arising from HAPARA (Harlow & Pannal Ash Residents Association):

1. The material presented at the road show sessions gave no indication whatsoever of the real benefits that could be expected to accrue from any of the incursions. Everything was high level, and the (NYCC) questionnaire was constructed in such a way as to almost lead people to a conclusion, which we in Harlow & Pannal Ash Residents Association (HAPARA) believe to be Package B.  So how can people really be expected to provide constructive answers to the study questionnaire when there are no real facts available?

The consultation is an early stages consultation and intended to gather people’s views on what they would like us to do in general terms, not on specific schemes. The suggested interventions could all be implemented area wide, and as such, none are location specific.

2. The relief road incursion contained in Package E has resulted in a level of opposition that has, to a large extent, swamped all other debate. How will you ensure that the views contained in the letter sent to you, on behalf of the western arc of Harrogate, in April of this year, are accounted for?  As we see it Packages B & E will do very little to resolve traffic problems on the western arc.

All views submitted as part of the consultation will be reported to the County Council’s decision makers. Any response from HAPARA will be reported to elected members.

3. At the Local Plan hearings held in January and February of this year, Harrogate Borough Council (HBC) Traffic Department seemed to indicate that discussions were at an advanced stage concerning Park & Ride and additional bus services to help offset the anticipated increase in traffic resulting from the nearly 4000 houses to be built on the western arc. However, the congestion questionnaire gives the impression that we are at an early stage on these improvements. So where exactly do matters stand on these improvements, given that public transport is not within the council`s gift?

Under existing legislation, as you point out, the County Council can generally only procure the operation of general bus services (under subsidy) where it can be proven there is an established social need to do so. However, we are able to commission and run Park and & Ride services. However, with regards to the specifics around the Harrogate Borough Council proposals, I am not aware of what stage the discussions are at, as they have not included NYCC in these. On this basis, it might be wise for a discussion to be set up with HBC’s local plan team.

4.  Can you ensure that in future we do not have to go through a similar process to the one we experienced concerning the Otley Road cycle path? No prior consultations took place with the immediate residents and businesses, and we were in effect presented with a fait accompli. Surely, if cycling is to play a part in helping to reduce congestion in Harrogate, then the residents need to be involved - and not just the cycling fraternity! After all, this is what Department for Transport (DfT) guidance on the introduction of cycling paths states should be done.

As a result of the Otley Road cycle route scheme the County Council are looking at how it can amend its consultation processes to engage with local communities at an earlier stage whilst not raising unnecessary expectations or concerns about schemes which may never get funded.

5. Given that our local MP has come out strongly against the relief road incursion, and strongly for sustainability, then are we facing an inevitable final congestion study decision based on Package B? 

The decision on which, if any, of the elements we develop further will be based on the findings of the congestion study engagement. This will be reported to elected members and they will ultimately decide what our next steps will be. Whilst the views of the local MP will be included in the analysis of the engagement, they are only one of many.

6. Whatever the final decision on the congestion study, what `groundwork` has been carried out by North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) to ensure that monies will be forthcoming? Or will this be yet another study left to collect dust? It is appreciated that cases have to be made to obtain such monies, but can we assume that some initial inquiries have been made?

There are a number of funding streams for major schemes (TfN, Major Road Network, Large Local Majors) and a relief road package would meet the criteria for these in principal. DfT will not normally give advice on acceptability prior to submission of an SOBC. For the smaller-scale options, funding is likely to come from a series of bids into ad hoc opportunities (e.g. National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF)) for packages of c£5m. NYCC in the past have been very successful with such bids. NYCC will also discuss with DfT the potential to develop a package approach to a major scheme of smaller measures – this would be somewhat innovative, but is another option for funding which we will explore.

7. School trips contribute significantly to congestion at peak times.  Where in the package of measures is any intervention designed to reduce these?

It is our view that the impact of school trips is, in general, overstated. This is demonstrated in the evening peak which is as bad, or worse, as the morning peak but has no school trips in it. Reduced traffic during school holidays is also as a result of commuters being on holiday. Nevertheless there is little if anything NYCC can do about school trips as ‘parental choice’ is a legal right. It is our understanding that all schools in Harrogate and Knaresborough are academies so NYCC has minimal influence.

8. Regarding the role of the MP in all this, some interventions, e.g. to increase bus services and school bus entitlement, require central government action. What lobbying is being done by NYCC to get the necessary powers?

Currently no specific lobbying is being undertaken – however, should there be a sufficient level of support through the engagement for improvements to bus services, this is something that will be reported to elected members.

In addition: questions from North Rigton Parish Council

1. A Park and Ride in the Pannal area will not serve the housing planned for the West of Harrogate. It may alleviate some traffic movements from Leeds & Bradford, but how many of these journeys will culminate on the bus route or the bus station? Was this question asked in the surveys of drivers?

The roadside interview surveys did ask exact origins and destinations of drivers so we can if we need to determine what trips would be in scope for a P&R. In addition to this, should there be a level of support for park and ride identified through the congestion study engagement, this is something that we will investigate further, and will look at a variety of possible sites throughout the study area.

2. There is no evidence of where the traffic goes to or comes from beyond the junctions assessed in the mapped area. Where is the evidence gathered from the wider study which we were assured had been undertaken?

Much of this is available in the Stage 1 Report, Options Assessment Report and Options Assessment Report Addendum, which is available on our website, and also on the ‘Further Information’ section of the Harrogate Congestion Engagement web pages. The level of information gathered through the roadside interview surveys is so detailed that it is not feasible to present it all but it is all included in the traffic model.

3. The entire study is about Harrogate and to a lesser extent Knaresborough. Footpaths which do exist, are not maintained and in places are impassable. If people are to be encouraged to walk, run, or cycle to work, the maintenance of existing infrastructure might be a good start. Who could safely run, walk or cycle along the A658 between Huby & Buttersyke Bar?  But this is outside the area of study! Many experienced runners and cyclists would not contemplate taking such actions.

The main purpose and focus of the study has always been about addressing congestion on the main routes into and through Harrogate. However, as indicated, we will consider the issue of rat running in the ‘western arc’. Footways / footpaths on the A658 corridor are less pertinent to this study as their impact on congestion would be negligible. However, we will raise this with our Area Office team, as an operational issue.