• Harrogate business groups have spoken against plans to impose temporary restrictions on a busy Harrogate road.
  • North Yorkshire County Council revealed experimental traffic restrictions on Beech Grove will come into place on 15th February.
  • Both Harrogate BID and Harrogate Chamber of Commerce believe the plans will negatively affect the town’s high street.

Harrogate BID and Harrogate Chamber of Commerce have weighed in on North Yorkshire County Council plans to close Beech Grove, stating that ‘random road closures are the not the answer’ to traffic concerns.

The council revealed their plans earlier this week in which they’ll be imposing restrictions on Beech Grove and Lancaster Road to prevent non-residential traffic from passing through.

The experimental restrictions are due to come into place from 15th February, however Harrogate officials are concerned that the plans will negatively affect accessibility to the town’s high street.

Sandra Doherty, Chief Executive of Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce, said:

“Surely when Harrogate town centre is open, we will want to encourage people to come. And this encouragement must take into account parking and accessibility.

“The solution is not, and never will be, the random closing of one road or another. A fully thought out, cohesive plan, which must involve all stakeholders should be undertaken.

“We must understand that no one single group will have the perfect solution. There will have to be some give and take.”

Mrs Doherty added:

“I am not convinced that the Government’s view of car free towns surrounded by cycle lanes and pavements is the solution to the decline of the high street.

“Now we have all got used to shopping online, towns will have to provide a more experiential offering – and banning cars or discouraging them just won’t help.

“Let’s build a Harrogate fit for the future, however that looks.”

Speaking on behalf of Harrogate BID (Business Improvement District), its chair Sara Ferguson said:

“Whilst we welcome measures to improve the environment we live and work in, we need to know what else North Yorkshire Council is planning for the town centre in terms of traffic reduction measures.

“We would like to think any future plans would include the addition of a large number of electric charging points to encourage those with electric vehicles to visit the town, whilst at the same time helping to reduce Co2 emissions.

“Also, if there is any loss of free parking, we would implore Harrogate Borough Council and North Yorkshire County Council to work together to reduce parking fees in the town’s under-utilised multistorey carparks and which will help support the town centre economy.”

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