Malcolm Margolis, locally famous as the iron cyclist in the sculptures beside The Nidderdale Greenway (above), has made a plea to NYCC councillors not to wreck the hugely successful green transport route he fought so hard to help establish.
Unfortunately for Malcolm – the founder of Wheel Easy Cycle Club and lately an NGCA committee member – he fell foul of NYCC procedures and was denied the opportunity to read out the following plea to the Harrogate Area NYCC councillors at their meeting on 31st August 2017:
On Saturday morning I submitted a request to make a presentation to today’s NYCC Harrogate Area Committee meeting. I was told I couldn’t because the deadline for submissions had been moved from the usual Monday to last Friday because of the Bank Holiday. I was unaware of this and asked for flexibility in the circumstances. This was refused. The presentation I wished to make was as follows:
North Yorkshire Council should not be contemplating, as it is, the possibility of building a road in the Nidd Gorge corridor. The green route would go along a kilometre or so of what is now the Nidderdale Greenway, the blue route would run close to it and wreck the tranquillity of both the Greenway and Gorge. Whatever ways are identified to reduce congestion on our roads, they cannot sensibly include the green or blue route.
Others have described how the Nidd Gorge is a haven for wildlife and walkers. I will focus on the Greenway which for several years I was deeply involved in creating, and indeed whose name I suggested. Those of you who’ve been on it will know that Keith Wilkinson and I have our metal likenesses alongside it, and an information board records our contribution to the project. I’m not saying this to boast, but to ensure that you are all aware of my total commitment to the Greenway. I continue to be involved, sometimes with others, sometimes on my own, in maintaining it with secateurs and broom. I raised several thousand pounds which is funding a feasibility study also backed by Harrogate Council to extend it into Nidderdale. I’ve written a leaflet which I’ve started giving to people on the Greenway asking them to sign the petition against the green and blue routes and to support our campaign. Most were unaware and all those I’ve spoken are appalled by the prospect. I and others put all our effort into getting this first phase of the Greenway built, and if necessary, which we hope it won’t be, we would aim to put similar effort into ensuring that it isn’t wrecked by any road along it, over it, or near it.
The Nidderdale Greenway is the most civilised thing that has happened to our area in recent times. We have the Stray, the Valley Gardens, the Pinewoods, the Nidd Gorge and the Greenway. Thousands enjoy it throughout the year. I cycled on it on Sunday and Monday. It was wonderfully busy especially with young families, including toddlers on balance bikes or in child seats on their parents’ bikes, kiddies bikes some with stabilizers some without, kids on scooters, an elderly man on an electric bike with very small wheels – it looked homemade – walkers with and without dogs, joggers, and wheelchair users.
Do you think it’s OK for the Council to spend half a million pounds on a study which to a large degree focusses on whether much of this should be destroyed forever? Don’t you agree that the Greenway and Gorge are sacrosanct, and cannot be sacrificed on the questionable grounds that it might, for a while, reduce congestion? And if you do agree, as you surely must, what are you going to do about it?