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Harrogate Borough Council are debating a report on the 4th March related to Walking and Cycling and I am delighted to say that it recommends that the Council support the HCA manifesto for Cycling and also that the Council make an Expression of interest to the DfT with regard to the development of a Cycling Delivery Plan. HCA have been working with Officers and the Cabinet Member for Sustainable Transport ( Cllr Rebecca Burnett) to produce a list of schemes within Harrogate and Knaresborough that will form the basis of developing the cycle network over the next 10years. The main thrust of the Plan is to link up the existing network and ensure that cyclist are provided with a safe environment to ride in. The full scheme list will be made public in the next few weeks when it has been formally approved by Harrogate Council. In addition the Council have committed funding to undertake a feasibility study on a Harrogate to Knaresborough Cycleway with the aim of reducing car journeys along this route. The Council has made a commitment of £750k in its budget towards developing the cycle network and has also made funds available for maintenance of existing footpaths. The report is good news in that it moves forward the work that was started some 15 months ago at a meeting with Councillors when the Manifesto was launched.

Harrogate Borough Council:

“Agenda Item No……
REPORT TO: Council
DATE: 4 March 2015
SERVICE AREA: Sustainable Transport
REPORTING MEMBER: Councillor Richard Cooper
SUBJECT: SUPPORT FOR WALKING AND CYCLING
WARD/S AFFECTED: None
FORWARD PLAN REF: N/A
___________________________________________________________________
1.0 PURPOSE OF REPORT
1.1 At the meeting of full council on 3 December 2015 Councillor Rebecca
Burnett proposed the following Notice of Motion which was seconded by
Councillor Steven Jackson:
“This council demonstrates its support for cycling and walking in the district
and further demonstrates this support by:
a. Supporting Harrogate Cycle Action’s manifesto for cycling
b. Submitting an expression of interest to the Department for Transport
for the development of a Cycling Delivery Plan
c. Changing the title of the councils cycling champion to the Cycling and
Walking Champion
d. Giving its backing to the progression of a safe but direct link between
Harrogate and Knaresborough
e. Consulting with interested parties to bring forward small and medium
term schemes to improve cycling and walking in the district.”
1.2 This report briefly considers the issues mentioned in the Notice of Motion
and offers a response accordingly.
2.0 RECOMMENDATIONS
2.1 The councils cycling champion is renamed the Walking and Cycling
Champion and that this title is bestowed on the Cabinet Member for
Sustainable Transport.
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2.2
2.3
The council supports the Harrogate Cycle Action manifesto for cycling and
consults with local groups through the Harrogate Borough Council Cycle
Forum in order to develop small and medium term schemes to improve
cycling across the district.
The council commits to submitting an expression of interest to work in
partnership with the Department for Transport (Dft) with the aim of delivering
a safe, direct cycle link between Harrogate and Knaresborough alongside
other improvements to cycling infrastructure in the district.
3.0 RECOMMENDED REASONS FOR DECISIONS
3.1
3.2
3.3
The incorporation of walking into the cycling champion role is essential to
align with sustainable transport priorities and ensure that the needs of
pedestrians are appropriately represented.
Harrogate Cycle Action has an encouraging manifesto and we are keen for
local cyclists to help shape future development of the bicycle network.
A partnership with the Dft would be essential in order to have the opportunity
to access funding to enable the delivery of meaningful walking and cycling
infrastructure across the district. Delivering a safe, direct link between
Harrogate and Knaresborough will provide an important cycling link for the
future.
4.0 ALTERNATIVE OPTION CONSIDERED AND RECOMMENDED FOR
REJECTION
4.1 Given the situation with congestion across Harrogate and Knaresborough
and the requirement to begin to address this in the short term doing nothing
for cycling is not considered an option. At a basic level there are essentially
two options for minimising congestion, providing quality alternatives to car
use for those who could use other methods of travel or building more roads.
While more roads may become part of a solution in future this is not likely to
happen soon.
5.0 THE REPORT
5.1
5.2
5.3
The Notice of Motion was referred to Councillor Cooper at full council on 3
December 2014.
Councillors Burnett and Jackson have discussed the contents of this report
and are in agreement with the recommendations provided.
Tackling congestion in Harrogate and Knaresborough, addressing the Air
Quality Management Areas and improving the general health of our residents
are of a high priority. Given the volume of short local trips, particularly
across Harrogate and Knaresborough it is important that measures are
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5.4
5.5
5.6
5.7
5.8
5.9
identified and schemes implemented that will contribute towards alleviating
congestion. For those travelling short distances by car there needs to be a
cultural change to make walking or cycling the first choice. If nothing is done
then in line with the demands on growth across the district congestion will
continue to be a serious economic constraint. There is no quicker solution
than people choosing to get out of their cars for shorter trips. HBC needs to
contribute to enabling a high percentage of trips to be undertaken on foot or
by bicycle.
The appointment of Councillor Burnett as Cabinet Member for Sustainable
Transport has rather superseded the role of cycling champion. The broader
remit of the cabinet role represents a more appropriate approach to
encouraging non car journeys than simply having a cycling champion. That
said, it is important to ensure that the most sustainable methods of travel,
walking and cycling, are effectively championed by a high profile role.
Walking is extremely important in reducing short car trips, particularly in our
urban areas which are, relatively speaking, quite compact. It is therefore
important to ensure it is accorded similar status and consideration to cycling.
It is proposed that the cycling champion becomes the walking and cycling
champion and that the Cabinet Member for Sustainable Transport takes the
role to ensure the most sustainable methods of travel are given the highest
priority.
The Harrogate Cycle Action manifesto lays out aims, objectives and actions
for achieving improvements for cyclists in the district. It represents a
sensible, realistic approach to achieving their aim which is:
“The encouragement of cycling as a healthy, safe and enjoyable activity for
all ages and as an alternative mode of transport”.
HBC is keen to work with local cycling groups to ensure that the needs,
knowledge and skills of existing cyclists form part of developing a robust
expression of interest to partner with the Dft on their Cycling Delivery Plan.
The HBC Cycle Forum contains representation from various local and
regional cycling organisations and aims to ensure that a suitably informed
and appropriate prioritised list of future schemes can be established.
HBC cannot alone fund walking and cycling infrastructure to a level where it
will make a significant difference to the volume of cars on our roads. It is
imperative that we look for additional funding sources and partnering with the
Dft on the Cycling Delivery Plan will provide an opportunity to access
national funding sources which could enable high quality infrastructure to be
implemented. The Cabinet Member for Sustainable Transport has been
working with the HBC Cycle Forum to develop an expression of interest and
associated programme with the aim of working with the government. This
approach should be endorsed in order to enable HBC to have the greatest
possible opportunity of delivering the required improvements in order to
increase the use of more sustainable modes of travel.
A route between Harrogate and Knaresborough, in addition to some smaller
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supplementary schemes to improve links between key areas of Harrogate,
represents an opportunity to alleviate the volume of traffic moving between
the two towns. Constraints on the journey, such as the long Starbeck level
crossing downtime and high levels of traffic provide an opportunity for cycling
to become a more attractive travel choice. Some other smaller schemes will
be included in the expression of interest and it would be envisaged that the
principles behind any successes in the Harrogate and Knaresborough area
could be transferred to other areas of the district.
6.0 CONCLUSIONS
6.1 In order for HBC to contribute to reducing congestion, improving air quality
and public health it is important to encourage the use of walking and cycling
for shorter trips that many are currently making by car. In order to actively
bring about change it is intended for walking to be incorporated into the
champion role, approval to be given to the Harrogate Cycle Action cycling
manifesto alongside commitment to developing a desired scheme list and an
expression of interest to be submitted to the Dft to partner on the national
Cycling Delivery Plan. The focus of this expression of interest will be on
providing a high quality, direct link between Harrogate and Knaresborough.
Background Papers –
Cycling Delivery Plan [Draft]. Department for Transport. 2014.
OFFICER CONTACT: Please contact Tom Horner if you require any further information
on the contents of this report. The Officer can be contacted at Knapping Mount, by
telephone on (01423) 500600 (ext. 58332) or by e-mail at
thomas.horner@harrogate.gov.uk”