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£4k raised already from local people and businesses for study into how to encourage cycling and improve facilities in N Yorks borough

A local councillor is urging people and companies in and around Harrogate to help pay for a Sustrans feasibility study into making it better for cycling – believed to be the first time the funding for such a study has been crowdsourced. The move comes after Harrogate Borough Council declined to fund it.

According to the Harrogate Advertiser, councillors voted against commissioning the study, which would cost £15,000 to carry out, but which Sustrans says would make future funding applications easier for the council.

Besides Harrogate itself, which on 5 July hosts the finish of Stage 1 of the Tour de France, the 505 square miles governed by the local authority includes towns such as Ripon and Knaresborough, as well as rural areas including Nidderdale.

Council's cycling champion: money not there now

The council’s cycling champion, John Ennis, the Conservative councillor for Low Harrogate, said that the borough’s new forum could address the same issues as might be included in the Sustrans report.

“We have had our first meeting and we are pooling our expertise and planning to do a feasibility assessment ourselves,” he explained. “I think it is a good group, we have a lot of different expertise.

“I am not saying we won’t need a study at some point but not at the moment and the money isn’t there right now.”

Crowdfunding the cash

However another councillor, the Liberal Democrat Councillor Helen Flynn, who represents Nidd Valley, is determined to find the cash to pay for it – and has turned to crowdfunding.

“What is exciting about this project is that it is the first time that a project of this type has been crowd sourced and it is particularly exciting as the Tour de France is upon us,” she said.

“There really never has been a better time to launch this kind of initiative, and it promises to eventually give us a strong legacy of utility cycling from the Tour having visited us.”

Congested Harrogate

To date, £4,000 of the target has been raised and Councillor Flynn is urging people and businesses in the area, which has a population of around 160,000 people, to contribute.

“Anyone who lives or works in Harrogate is well aware of traffic congestion around the town,” she went on.

“It is also the case that over 80 per cent of traffic in Harrogate is local. Most damning of all, we also have one of the lowest rates of young people cycling to school in the country”

Councillor Flynn added: “I feel it is important that as a town we do have an ambitious and joined up approach as to how we can achieve the aim of becoming a cycling town.”

Dutch-style infrastructure

Among the local businesses to have already contributed is a Kempston-Parkes Chartered Surveyors, whose managing director, Andrew Kempston-Parkes, said: “This hopefully will be the beginning of a lasting legacy for the Harrogate District.”

Malcolm Margolis of cycle group Wheel Easy said he hoped the study could lead to Harrogate getting some Dutch-style infrastructure.

Anyone wishing to contribute should contact helen?ynn [at] me.com (ynn [at] me.com) .

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

10 comments

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Gkam84 [9092 posts] 2 years ago
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DA F*CK  40

A charity (Sustrans) is trying to raise money to do a job that the council won't do, yet said "charity" gets a shed load of money every year from the government.

So now they want the public, who pay their taxes, of which some will go to the charity, to stump up again for a study and report that the council voted against.

Something has gone wrong somewhere along the line

In 2012/13, The had an income of over £78.6 million, £35 million of which came from the government. http://www.sustrans.org.uk/about-us/financial-review

They only spent £78million of that, so where has the rest gone, if they are a charity, surely they must have that half a million pounds somewhere.....

Dip into your own pockets.....

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Some Fella [890 posts] 2 years ago
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Councils (and councillors) happy to bask in the reflected glory the Tdf will bring but less keen to do owt for the poor sops who cycle the roads.
Harrogate District Council probably spends £15 000 on biscuits for its meetings every year.

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Doctor Fegg [145 posts] 2 years ago
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@Gkam84: Not all money can be spent within the same financial year in which it's received. If you get £500,000 on March 31st to build a new cycle route, it's really very unlikely that you're going to be able to spend it all before the end of the financial year a few hours later.

Also, when you say "they want the public to stump up", the "they" in this case is actually a councillor, not Sustrans, as the story explains.

When Sustrans (or anyone else) gets Government grants, it's for a particular purpose. It might be "build a new cycle route in a particular South Wales valley", for example. It sure as hell isn't going to be "just keep this in your back pocket in case some town in North Yorkshire wants a feasibility study".

But you know, facts, good story and all of that.

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mikeprytherch [223 posts] 2 years ago
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One of the major junctions in Harrogate has just been redeveloped and I fail to see how they could of made it any more dangerous for cyclists, whilst I know this is County Council who makes the final decision Harrogate do have a say, its only a matter of time before a cyclist is seriously injured in the wake of the redesign.

They have not got a clue and any report really isn't going to help because they will never be able to digest and understand it.

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bikebot [2149 posts] 2 years ago
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Seeing as it's Sustrans, I'd say the council made the right choice.

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Gkam84 [9092 posts] 2 years ago
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Doctor Fegg wrote:

@Gkam84: Not all money can be spent within the same financial year in which it's received. If you get £500,000 on March 31st to build a new cycle route, it's really very unlikely that you're going to be able to spend it all before the end of the financial year a few hours later.

Also, when you say "they want the public to stump up", the "they" in this case is actually a councillor, not Sustrans, as the story explains.

When Sustrans (or anyone else) gets Government grants, it's for a particular purpose. It might be "build a new cycle route in a particular South Wales valley", for example. It sure as hell isn't going to be "just keep this in your back pocket in case some town in North Yorkshire wants a feasibility study".

But you know, facts, good story and all of that.

I know that alot of the money they get in grants is ring-fenced for certain purposes, that is why they get the grants.

But they got £3 million in charity donations, plus over £14 million in fees and grants from local authority's and shop sales.

I know some of that will also be ring-fenced, but they surely have £15k somewhere to do it themselves.

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SirruslyFast [11 posts] 2 years ago
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I suppose one thing to consider is that Sustrans employ around 500 people (according to this report: www.ashden.org/files/Sustrans2013winner.pdf) so that's going to be quite a few millions of pounds spent on wages.

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Gkam84 [9092 posts] 2 years ago
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SirruslyFast wrote:

I suppose one thing to consider is that Sustrans employ around 500 people (according to this report: www.ashden.org/files/Sustrans2013winner.pdf) so that's going to be quite a few millions of pounds spent on wages.

Pretty sure that is all covered within their report here http://www.sustrans.org.uk/sites/default/files/images/files/about%20us/S...

Which was used to make that image on their website

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hexhome [26 posts] 2 years ago
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I live in an area where Sustrans have designed the cycling 'infrastructure'. This largely consists of signposting along pre existing routes. There is very little thought to 'utility' cycling. It is mostly designed for leisure cycling, with long detours to avoid perceived hazards.
All this is fine if it were not for the fact that it is ill maintained and prevents further investment in cycle routes.

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vbvb [620 posts] 2 years ago
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What's the roads budget in Harrowgate? Maybe Harrowgate isn't serious, just isn't ready for transport and health for everyone.

Mind you, if it were my 15k, and Harrowgate were really onboard, I'd rather fund a cycling officer post. Maybe there's one already.