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Councillors pin hopes on Bilton to Hornbeam Park cycle path

Thursday, 23 May 2024 07:08

By Thomas Barrett, Local Democracy Reporter

Hornbeam Park, Harrogate.

Harrogate & Knaresborough councillors are set to spend £40,000 on design work that could eventually lead to a cycle path being created between Bilton and Hornbeam Park.

Each year, the area constituency committee is given a pot of money by North Yorkshire Council to go towards local projects.

Councillors put forward a host of ideas that could receive funding and the list has now been whittled down to the three that are most viable.

The prospect of a cycle route between Bilton and Hornbeam Park goes back to at least 2019 when North Yorkshire County Council commissioned consultants to draw up a cycle infrastructure plan for Harrogate.

With a distance of around 2.5km between the two areas, it would be one of the most ambitious cycle routes ever created in Harrogate if it came to fruition.

As the proposal is still in its early stages, no details have been given about which roads could be used though it could potentially take advantage of Slingsby Walk, a path adjacent to the Stray that is already accessible for cyclists.

When designs for the scheme are eventually drawn up, it’s hoped the council will have a “bid ready” scheme to apply for funding through the government’s Active Travel Fund.

There is also money available through the York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority which is led by newly-elected Labour mayor David Skaith.

A report has been prepared for councillors ahead of a meeting next week where councillors are expected to give the green light for design work to begin.

The council has modelled how successful a route between Bilton and Hornbeam Park could be and claims an extra 1,612 cycle trips a day is possible.

It said the cycle path could get people out of cars and remove a large amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year.

The council has faced strong criticism for its track record delivering cycle schemes in Harrogate from both Harrogate District Cycle Action and the public.

The one significant cycle route it has built in recent years, the Otley Road cycle path, cost millions but has been lambasted for its “confusing” design that weaves on-and-off the pavement.

It has resulted in the section between Harlow Moor Road and Arthur’s Avenue being largely ignored by cyclists who prefer to use the road with motorists.

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