Road changes will only drive customers away

From: Peter C. Jesper, managing director, Jespers of Harrogate, Oxford Street Harrogate.

I WRITE to object most strongly to North Yorkhire County Council’s proposal (in consultation) to re-route the A61 away from Station Parade in Harrogate at an estimated cost of £750,000.

Harrogate does not need this scheme and its implementation would compromise both the quality of life of many residents and the commercial activities of many businesses too.

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In my 30 years experience of commuting to, through and from the town centre and delivering to customers in the area, Station Parade has never been a regular site of prolonged congestion.

I appreciate the desire to improve rail and public transport links to the town; but developing an integrated modern terminus does not have to include the re-routing of through traffic from Station Parade.

The proposed pedestrianisation of James Street and Princes Street is detrimental too, as this important premium retail area in the town provides vital short term parking for our shoppers and a quality shop window for our visitors. Do we really want to lose this and can the town centre retailers afford further erosion of customer parking capacity?

Retailers nationwide are under severe threat both from the reducing pound in our pockets and from advances in technology; all of which seriously challenge the traditional shopping experience. Town centres are changing and in many cases not for the good and these proposals if turned into reality, will drive more visitors and shoppers to alternative and more accessible shopping venues.

If NYCC’s preposterous plans are passed, it will not only affect the quality of life of the town centre residents and the values of their properties, it will also add much pressure to Harrogate’s independent retailers at a time that they can ill afford to suffer more.