West Harrogate sustainable transport improvements

North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) is due to carry out a series of sustainable transport improvements in the West of Harrogate following investment from central government, Harrogate Borough Council (HBC), NYCC and developer contributions.

These improvements, that will include smart traffic lights, improvements to the junction of Harlow Moor Road and Otley Road, a new off-road cycle route on Otley Road and new or improved pedestrian crossings, will help to improve safety and alleviate the current level of congestion and accommodate the future growth of Harrogate as recognised in the Local Plan.

Otley Road Stray land exchange and Stray Act Byelaws consultation

As part of the proposed cycle route some of the existing verges and footpaths between Cold Bath Road and Beech Grove on Otley Road, that form part of Stray land, are proposed to be used.

We are responsible for management of the Stray and because part the proposed cycle route intends to use some of the existing verges and footpaths that are designated as Stray land, a formal public consultation is required followed by the necessary legal procedures.

We are therefore holding a 12-week public consultation to seek views on two areas that are needed in order to enable NYCC to use the Stray land for the creation of the proposed segregated cycle route. You can register your comments by completing the online consultation form by Monday 9 November.

1. Exchange land required

The Stray Act 1985 requires that any Stray land which is currently grass and is to be 'inclosed' must be exchanged for land dedicated as public open space which is:

  • at least equivalent in size to the Stray land to be 'inclosed' (556.9m2 gross)
  • no more than 100 metres, as measured from its nearest point, to the Stray
  • is 'equally advantageous' to the inhabitants of the borough as public open space

Case law relating to the Stray Act defines and spells something as 'inclosed' if something is put on the grassed Stray land - be it a post, tent or tarmac. Therefore whilst not all the verges will be taken and some new verges will be created along the cycle route, the proposed cycle route will be inclosing a gross amount of 556.9m2 of grassed Stray land.

We have worked with the Duchy of Lancaster and NYCC to find three options for exchange land which meet these requirements under Section 4 (4) of the Harrogate Stray Act 1985.

  • option 1: Land at Wetherby Road (rear of the hospital) (645m2) - our preferred option.
  • option 2: St James Drive verges (614m2)
  • option 3: Arthurs Avenue verges (614m2)

2. Amendment of the Stray Byelaws

Implementing the cycle route requires amendment of the Stray Byelaws as the existing Stray Byelaws prohibit cycling on the majority of Stray footpaths and grass.

Byelaw 10 provides:
"10(b) no person shall ride any bicycle or tricycle over or across any part of the Stray except;
(ii) on a path identified as for use by cyclists and pedestrians on the annexed plan."

The proposal will amend the Stray Byelaws to permit cycling on Otley Road verges and footpaths between Cold Bath Road and Beech Grove by amending the plan annexed to the Byelaws.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government who has the responsibility for byelaws covering open spaces, advised that while we are proposing to amend the Stray Byelaws to permit cycling on Otley Road, we should take the opportunity to update them so that they are consistent with the national template for byelaws.

Therefore we are seeking to amend the Stray Byelaws made under Section 7 of the Harrogate Stray Act (1985) as follows:

  1. To amend the plan annexed to the Stray Byelaws the effect of which will be to permit cycling on the proposed Otley Road cycle route
  2. To update the format of the Stray Byelaws so as to be consistent with the model byelaws for pleasure grounds, public walks and open spaces as recommended by the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government

How to comment on the proposals

We welcome your views on these proposals and you can register your comments by completing the online consultation form by Monday 9 November.

Please note, this consultation is not about the design of the cycle route, that has already been finalised by NYCC and has passed the road safety audit following a public engagement event in 2019.

Further information about the west of Harrogate sustainable transport scheme can be found on North Yorkshire County Council’s website.

If you have any questions or require further information, please look at the frequently asked questions or email: [email protected].

Page last updated 24/08/2020