Statement and Question from Nidd Gorge Community Action
to NYCC, Harrogate & Knaresborough Area Constituency Committee
29th August 2019
…at this time?
Good morning councillors.
In December 2017, when NYCC presented the 340 page OAR, they were told, almost unanimously, by this committee that the relief road was a bad idea.
At that stage, having already spent hundreds of thousands of pounds of our money on the Harrogate Relief Road Review a wise council would have realised that the writing was on the wall for the unpopular Nidd Gorge based road and walked away from it without wasting any more of our money. They could then have got on with the job of implementing the desperately needed sustainable measures and we could now be enjoying a reduction in traffic congestion in our towns
Instead, our County Council, ignored our local democratic representatives and chose to extend the review by 18 months and spend even more of our precious money on: expensive WSP consultants; an expensive 243 page addendum to the OAR and an expensive public consultation. After all that extra expenditure, of our money, what is the conclusion?
The relief road is a bad idea.
At this time of devastating austerity, when North Yorkshire says it doesn’t have the money for vital front-line services, when it can’t provide youth clubs, when it can’t subsidise school buses and when it is sacrificing Harrogate’s Outstanding Pupil Referral Unit for want of money , can officers please tell me how much money has been spent on the Harrogate Congestion Study since December 7th 2017 – providing a breakdown of where this money has been spent, including the advertising budget for the survey? (Question 1)
And so, after three years of investigation, after three years of frittered public money and three years of stagnating traffic, North Yorkshire County council have finally conceded “that this (inner relief road) proposal should not be taken further at this time.”
“at this time”,
what does that mean?
Does it mean that NYCC are going to do a bit more tinkering here and there, spend thousands on useless so called smart traffic lights, some inadequate cycle lanes, half-hearted park and ride and so on, and then sometime around 2026 decide they need to take yet another look at the Inner Relief Road, but next time present it as the ‘Happy Highway’ and pay Google Maps to airbrush over Nidd Gorge?
In all seriousness, I hope the Members of this Committee will consider, very carefully, whether they agree with having the words ‘at this time’ included in the recommendation at paragraph 7.4.
This clause alone is grounds for a vote of no confidence.
Every decade this Nidd Gorge road has reared its ugly head. Do we have to prepare coming generations, if we haven’t all fried to death by then, to fight this same battle in 2026 and 2036?
After three failed attempts in three decades, isn’t it high time that North Yorkshire learnt from past mistakes and ruled out any further attempts to drive an Inner Northern Relief Road through the green belt. Isn’t it high time you showed Nidd Gorge, the Nidderdale Greenway and the ‘people like Bilton’ the respect and protection they deserve.
Given this colossal waste of time and money, the unnecessary stress caused to the community, and their reluctance and inability to deliver the 21st century vision needed and requested by the people of Harrogate and Knaresborough, I am calling on this committee, on behalf of their constituents in Harrogate and Knaresborough, to take a vote of no confidence in the BES Executive – and the NYCC Executive, who continually endorse their poor decisions, waste our money and fail to meet our needs.
Nidd Gorge Community Action