A bid to turn Harrogate into a cycling town to ease congestion and provide a legacy to the Tour de France has been launched with an appeal for the spa town’s firms to help pay for a feasibility study.
Campaigners have been pressing for a study considering whether Harrogate should become a cycle-friendly town, in line with Dutch communities where cycling is commonplace, encouraging more people to leave their cars at home. They say the arrival of the Grand Départ of the Tour de France in the town in July is the perfect opportunity to ensure Harrogate has a lasting legacy.
Coun Helen Flynn, the Liberal Democrat shadow member for finance and resources on Harrogate Borough Council, is urging businesses, community groups and others to give cash towards a £15,000 feasibility study by Sustrans. Campaigners argue having a feasibility study in place will make it easier to attract funding to any scheme.
She said: “This would mean that people would be able to make routine short journeys in Harrogate by bike, leading to healthier lifestyles, a reduction in congestion and cleaner air quality.
“We are hoping that the full £15,000 can be raised and in place before the Tour de France comes to Harrogate in July, to demonstrate that people across the Harrogate district want to see a lasting legacy from the Tour taking place in Harrogate.”
In March the issue was debated by members of the borough council, with Conservative politicians saying plenty was already being done.
Coun Richard Cooper, a Tory member who represents High Harrogate, claimed at the time that if the authority spent money on a feasibility study it would take funds away from vital projects promoting cycling in the district.
Conservative councillors also stressed a significant amount of investment has already been made in the town for cyclists, including the opening of the Nidderdale Greenway and new cycle storage facilities around the town.
However, campaigners are now going it alone and seeking to raise the £15,000 needed with the help of businesses and community groups. They have already raised £3,500. Anyone interested in supporting the scheme can email Coun Flynn at email@example.com
The Yorkshire Post is encouraging readers to saddle up and send in their cycling pictures as part of our interactive On Yer Bike! campaign.
We will publish submitted pictures at www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/tour-de-france to celebrate Le Tour and inspire others to get out riding.
To get involved, send in your pictures, with a note telling us your name, age, where you are from and where your On Yer Bike! snap was taken, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, tweeting @leedsnews using the #onyerbike hashtag or by posting on our www.facebook.com/yep.newspaper Facebook page