After the 1st lockdown HBC & NYCC blocked James Street and Albert Street with planters to suspend parking and there are further parking suspensions in the listed areas below.
James Street is one of the main retail streets, in Harrogate there are major concerns that this will present even greater challenges for businesses, who often rely on their customers being able to conveniently and affordably park.
During the UCI in September 2019 the towns retail businesses suffered great losses, when the town was blocked off and shut down from traffic for over three weeks. Sadly the loss of trade meant some businesses had to close and in the aftermath there was a lot of anger and frustration that the council hadn’t consulted the people and businesses before hosting this event.
Rather than uniting with the people & businesses, the council went on to increase the parking charges, which many felt deterred the consumer. 2020 brought inevitable uncertainty surrounding Brexit, which effected the confidence of trade and then of course we have had worldwide pandemic, when the nation went into lockdown in March 2020.
As the town emerged for the first lockdown, rather than offer free parking, which many thought would encourage trade, James street & Albert street saw parking suspension and the roads were blocked by planters.
No consultation, no survey, no end date given.
We wanted to open up the streets and shops of Harrogate on 12th April 2021 with a bang, no planters but a big red ribbon declaring the town is open for business again! This didn’t happen and we have been given a ‘preview date’ 17th June. Having written to Cllr Don Mackenzie & Cllr Richard Cooper, they do not want the planters removed because they want to pedestrianise these roads. Even under their own admission they cannot maintain the existing pedestrianised streets, in a statement released about the flowerbeds, “Inevitably, this means the beds end up being visually dull and nothing more than a magnet for cigarette butts, empty coffee cups and fast-food takeaway packaging. They look a mess and prompt almost as many complaints as we’ve had about the artificial grass.”
With the mounting pressure to remove the planters and not pedestrianise, will NYCC & HBC listen to the views of the businesses, residents and customers? Where is the evidence that pedestrianisation works in towns like Harrogate?
Harrogate Advertiser: Harrogate Sustainable Travel Survey
Only 700 people did this survey, therefore only 0.9% /0.44% of the population, and of those, 59.9% said they wanted pedestrianisation, 0.56%/0.27% of the population. How is a survey result of only 0.56% /0.27% of Harrogate’s population in any way conclusive?
Will more pedestrianisation benefit the Harrogate town centre? Looking at the pedestrianised roads in other towns and the ones we already have in Harrogate, including part of Oxford Street, Cambridge Street, and Beulah Street, we can see the detrimental effects pedestrianisation can have on shops & businesses, with an increase in empty units, charity shops and discount stores. Pedestrianised areas can also encourage the vagrancy, drug users and increased security fears, especially for women walking through town at night.
Wouldn’t it be wise to make good the current pedestrianized areas first, which are looking run down and shabby before making new ones? Please see our ‘Alternative Solutions’ page.