Saving the Nidderdale Greenway and Nidd Gorge

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Saving the Nidderdale Greenway and Nidd Gorge

Post by duncan » Sun Feb 24, 2019 6:04 pm

From Malcolm Margolis of Wheel Easy..

Can you spare an hour to help us deliver 48,000 leaflets to homes and help save the Nidderdale Greenway and the Nidd Gorge from the proposed road?
Nidd Gorge Community Action (NGCA) needs a small army of volunteers - ideally about 400 - to help. So far we have about 80. The leaflets will encourage people to respond to the public consultation, and say why we believe investing in safer cycling and walking, and in public transport, is the way to relieve Harrogate’s congestion, not an environmentally destructive and hugely expensive road.
Leafletting will be shortly after the start of the consultation expected later in March. To volunteer please email
See more about what’s happening at You may want to 'like' the page!

A JustGiving crowdfunding appeal has been launched to pay for the leaflets. It has already passed its initial target of £2,500 to pay for 48,000 leaflets, and a new target of £4,000 has been set to enable more leaflets to be printed, and to pay for banners. Can you help us reach this target? Visit the JustGiving page here ... db9c7e8c67


I believe the planned cycle paths are an essential step towards tackling congestion on Otley Road, and making it a better place for people who live, work and go to school along it. What do the antis suggest instead? Just give up and accept daily gridlock, and all the noise and pollution that comes with it?

Let’s look at some of the objections.

1. “Thirteen trees will be lost.” In fact 10 of these have nothing at all to do with the cycle scheme. They are at risk because of the changes at the junction with Harlow Moor Road, designed to reduce congestion at these traffic lights. Of the three at risk because of the cycle paths, I have proposed changes to the plans which would save one. I’ve also suggested narrowing Otley Road a little which might save the other two and would have other benefits including enabling more grass to be retained. The road is not wide, but it’s wider practically and legally than it needs to be. I will however be pleasantly surprised if either that, or my suggestion that the speed limit is reduced to 20mph, happens.

2. “It means loss of Stray land”. It doesn’t. Under the Stray Act, any land taken has to be replaced by other land of equal quality and accessibility within a hundred metres. How many people know that the strips of grass along the roadside verges of Otley Road as far as Cold Bath Road, as well as along Knaresborough Road almost to Stonefall Avenue, Oatlands Drive, Hookstone Drive, part of Hookstone Road, and Wetherby Road almost as far as the southern bypass, are officially part of the Stray? (Search online “Harrogate Stray map”.) It should never have been allowed, and it could be reversed. There are several places within central Harrogate which could and should be reclaimed as Stray including along Stray Rein and Coach Road, currently used as car parks.

3. “It’s too steep.” “Not even adult experienced cyclists would want to pedal uphill here.” Absolutely untrue. Adult experienced cyclists pedal up hills much longer and steeper than Otley Road, including several members of Harrogate Wheel Easy in their 70’s and 80’s. That’s what gears are for. Many school pupils who cycle regularly would barely notice Otley Road’s modest gradient, and for the growing number of people on electric bikes the hill is no obstacle at all. I’d happily cycle up it, it’s a gentle training ride, a great way to warm up on a cold winter’s day, but not among all that traffic.

When I campaigned for cycle paths on the Stray and for the Nidderdale Greenway there was similarly predictable nonsense about the dire consequences. I believe both have been a great success, enjoyed by thousands of residents and visitors. They and other new shared use cycle and footpaths like the Showground Greenway all help to encourage more people, not least young families, to enjoy the outdoors in safety. But they are just the start of a much more ambitious vision for a town and district which is truly walking and cycling-friendly, and has excellent public transport, where people use cars only when they need to, not to pop down the road to the shops or school. It’s called modal shift, and for all sorts of reasons, including our health and that of the planet, it’s essential that we achieve it.

Like Harlow and Pannal Residents Association I’m disappointed that the current proposals only stretch from Beech Grove to Harlow Moor Road, but there’s no doubt that both NYCC and HBC are committed to extending it to Cardale either at the same time, or very soon after.

I believe the scheme is generally well thought out, which doesn’t mean to say there aren’t details which can be improved. I look forward to seeing what changes are proposed following public comments. In my view the plans for Otley Road deserve much better than this newspaper’s repeated reference to the fact that someone apparently once described them as ‘Harrogate’s Brexit’, a ludicrous statement unless you explain what they meant by that. Repeating it sounds to me more like cheap sensationalism than responsible journalism. I would describe them as ‘Harrogate’s version of transport planning fit for the 21st century’ and you are welcome to quote that as often as you like.

Malcolm Margolis

[Submitted for publication without amendments unless agreed with me in advance. Thank you. Tel 01423 541528}

Dr Christopher Bennett LETTER TO RIPON GAZETTE

Dear Sir/Madam,

It was with some disappointment that I read the letters from the Marlows and Ms. Carnaghan suggesting that Otley Road should not be upgraded to allow for all types of transport, pedal and leg power as well as motorised. Their letters promulgate traffic views more suited to the 1970’s and 80’s, when all things vehicular were to rule supreme across our towns and cities. At that time Ripon narrowly avoided being split in two by an inner ring road and York was only finally saved from a ring road encircling the medieval city as late as 1975; Harrogate managed to avoid similar urban horrors.

Until about 30 years ago most short journeys to work and school were by bus, bike or on foot. As traffic volumes increased a tipping point was reached when parents no longer deemed the streets safe for children so a vicious cycle began, more traffic causing fear of the roads, consequently less people on bikes or walking.

Two things have changed to challenge that mind set; one is the unacceptable exhaust pollution across urban Britain, the other is the epidemic of obesity amongst our young. I suggest that the Carnaghans, Marlows and other car addicted readers visit the many northern European Cities where cycle lanes alongside roads are a normal part of city planning. To see mothers with baby carriers on their bikes, in a capital city like Vienna, was an indication of how safe they felt on two wheels because they were using dedicated, cycle-priority lanes.

It is time that pedestrians and cyclists had priority in urban areas which would allow more space for taxis and buses whilst reducing car congestion. If only 10% of existing car journeys were by bike or foot, congestion would be drastically reduced so my hope is that the Otley road scheme is the first of many in North Yorkshire. For too long motorised vehicles have been given the majority of transport resources so now we, that is people as opposed to mobile, metal boxes, want to claim back our streets, towns and cities so they become safe for children and adults alike.

Yours Sincerely,
Dr Christopher Bennett – motorist, cyclist and walker.

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