A Richmondshire councillor has said it “beggars belief” that North Yorkshire is to construct three of its four planned cycle schemes in Harrogate, with the other in Whitby. “They are going for what are easy wins while completely ignoring the rest of North Yorkshire,” said Stuart Parsons. “It’s good for Harrogate, but not so for elsewhere.”
Over 300 active travel schemes were put forward as part of North Yorkshire County Council’s recent successful bid for £1m of emergency active travel funding.
However, responding to a petition from residents calling for a safe route serving villages near Richmond last week, Councillor John Weighell said they could face a wait of “hundreds of years” for such a scheme.
“It is the ones with the greatest benefits, with the greatest use, that will actually come to the top of the pile unfortunately,” he explained.
Richmondshire Today reports that the four schemes chosen are segregated cycle lanes and improved crossings at Oatlands Drive and on the A59 in Harrogate; pedestrian crossing improvements, segregated cycling infrastructure and bike storage facilities in Harrogate town centre; and walkways and cycle lanes along the park and ride route on Guisborough Road, Whitby.
“It beggars belief that they are looking to put almost all of that money into one town when the whole of the county needs schemes,” said Parsons.
Kevin Douglas, chairman of Harrogate District Cycle Action, said his group was happy with the plans – especially considering North Yorkshire had secured only half of the £266,000 it bid for in the first round of funding.
"Any money coming into Harrogate is always welcome so we are absolutely delighted with this,” he said.
"During the first round we felt there wasn't much consultation with residents, but that wasn't the case this time and a lot of work went into detailed designs which I think has paid off. This should be recognised and is a credit to the team at the council.
"The Oatlands Drive scheme will be really positive and provide children with alternative means to get to school. The Harrogate and Knaresborough cycle path should also help ease some of the pressure on the A59."