YP Letters: Relief road plan for town is not the answer

Should a relief road be built around Harrogate to cut congestion?
Should a relief road be built around Harrogate to cut congestion?
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From: Malcolm Margolis, Zero Carbon Harrogate.

THERE are several powerful reasons why a new – enticingly but falsely named – ‘Harrogate relief road’ has repeatedly been rejected since it was first proposed in the 1980s.

The killer fact is that a new road is irrelevant to solving local congestion, which is why Harrogate cuncillors sensibly voted to abandon the plan altogether, and to focus instead on sustainable solutions such as better public transport, and investment in walking and cycling.

Unfortunately they’ve been ignored. It’s irrelevant because well over 90 per cent of the traffic causing the congestion is local. Only seven per cent is ‘external’, the rest starts and/or finishes in Harrogate and Knaresborough. You can build as many ‘relief’ roads as you like, but our urban roads will remain clogged up because that’s where drivers want to go.

If Harrogate was a village blighted by a main road going through it, a new road could make a massive difference. It isn’t. Another reason local councillors rejected a road was cost. The report commissioned by the county council estimated the cost of the road package at £160-£200m, and concluded that the relief road was ‘the poorest performing’ option. In other words, it didn’t work.