West Harrogate Highways Stakeholder Engagement Meeting - 1 October 2021
West of Harrogate Co-ord Group (WHCC) Comments
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:
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.
• Behaviour change
• Cycling and walking
• Bus priority
• Park and ride
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
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
RESULTING FROM THE 7TH NOVEMBER 2019 NYCC HARROGATE AND KNARESBOROUGH AREA CONSTITUENCY MEETING
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.”
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.
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.
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.