Recommendation: The Executive are asked to recommend to the Chief Executive that under his emergency delegated powers he:
i. Take forward the Transforming Cities Fund projects in Harrogate, Skipton and Selby for preliminary and detailed design and consultation, subject to the following:
(a) further design and consultation is undertaken on the Harrogate 1 Lane Station Parade option only;
(b) further design and consultation is undertaken on James Street based on full pedestrianisation incorporating the ability to retain an unobstructed width such that traffic could be accommodated if necessary;
(c) a Final Business Case will be presented prior to implementation and a further decision from the Executive will be sought to agree any recommended implementation of the final designs later in 2021;
(d) decisions on how to progress with the variant options at Selby which do not directly affect the existing highway network are delegated to the Corporate Director, BES working with Selby District Council and Network Rail.
A report of the Corporate Director for Business and Environmental Services seeking approval to undertake preliminary and detailed design of the recommended highways options for the Transforming Cities Fund programme following Public Consultation.
County Councillor Gareth Dadd left the meeting at 12:36pm.
It was noted that emails had been received from two members of the public and a response had been issued by the Corporate Director.
County Councillor Don Mackenzie presented the report which detailed the County Council’s progress on leading on a £31.1m programme with its partners at Skipton and Selby District Councils and Harrogate Borough Council, under a funding agreement with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.
Karl Battersby, Corporate Director for Business & Environmental Services provided an overview of the report focussing on the County Council’s lead role on delivering the programme within a tight timescale, the consultation that had taken place on each of the proposed schemes, and the resulting findings.
He provided an outline of the two options for Station Parade in Harrogate and the plan for the eastern section of James Street. He confirmed further detailed design and modelling works were required to understand the impact of those plans on the highway. He also noted a TRO would be required for James Street.
He went on to outline the other two schemes in Selby and Skipton and confirmed the next steps to progress all three projects, which included some further public consultation later in 2021. He confirmed there would be a focus on ensuring the schemes had no negative impact on local businesses.
County Councillor Don Mackenzie took the opportunity to reassure the business community in Harrogate who had lobbied strongly regarding the gateway scheme, that the proposal was not intended to make it more difficult for them and their customers to travel to Harrogate, but rather to attract more visitors to the town centre.
County Councillor Carl Les stressed there would be further opportunities for members of the public to provide feedback on the proposals.
Specifically in regard to the modelling for the Harrogate scheme, County Councillor Michael Harrison noted that it would need to take account of it being the main north south route through the town. Any negative impact on travel times for through traffic would need to be balanced against the positive impacts from the scheme. County Councillor Paul Haslem suggested case studies from other part pedestrianised town centres should be considered to understand the benefits gained, in order to give some balance to the fears of retailers being expressed.
Karl Battersby, Corporate Director for Business & Environmental Services confirmed the modelling work had been based on regional traffic growth pre-covid, considered to be the worst case scenario.
Having considered the report and the information provided at the meeting, the eight members of the Executive present at the meeting agreed to recommend to the Chief Executive that using his delegated powers, he:
i) Approve the taking forward of the highway proposals for the Transforming Cities Fund projects in Harrogate, ... view the full minutes text for item 583