Residents say Nidd Gorge relief road would be "the biggest mistake ever"

An arch of trees at Nidd Gorge, taken in autumn earlier this year.
An arch of trees at Nidd Gorge, taken in autumn earlier this year.
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Residents have told the County Council that "they will have a fight on their hands" if proposals to build a relief road through Nidd Gorge are progressed.

A comprehensive report into Harrogate and Knaresborough's huge traffic congestion issues was made public by North Yorkshire County Council yesterday, November 30.

But the report, which outlined the results of various congestion studies in the towns, has been met with public outrage after it highlighted two relief road routes as achieving the most benefits - both of which would go through the Nidd Gorge.

Commenting on the Harrogate Advertiser Facebook page, Rowen Johnson Hardcastle, said: "They will have a fight on their hands if they try take that beautiful spot away from the residents of Harrogate and future generations.

"We should be retaining nature for our future children to enjoy rather than smashing a great big road through it and building houses on it. When will they realise once something like this is done it can never be taken back.

"And when will they realise the diversity of wildlife currently down at the gorge i.e otters, kingfishers, deer, deserve the chance to live in the surroundings that they have for years. Why is it anyone’s right to take their habitat away from them.

"If the gorge is bull dozed it will be the biggest mistake the council could ever make."

Many accepted that something needed to be done about the congestion problems, but pleaded for a better solution.

Jayne Walker said: "It is time something was done about traffic congestion but certainly not there, total madness, there must be other more appropriate routes to use PLEASE!"

Nick Sam Virr added: "Absolute madness that this is even considered an option. It’s a fantastic space currently used by so many to actually enjoy the outdoors let alone the actual nature that live in the gorge. It’s so disappointing and sad that this is a consideration."

Another reader, Mark Hook, suggested part of the problem was the number of people using private cars to travel, and said that building more roads wouldn't 'solve anything'.

He said: "It's quicker to cycle... but so many do not.

"The main problem is people's obsession with the private car. Big hulking vehicles, yet watch as they go by just to see them being occupied by the driver. Then there is the space they taken even when not in use.

"Building more roads doesn't solve anything long term."

Others added that the building of a relief road through Nidd Gorge would open up the area for housing developments.

David Stone said: "What it does do is open Bilton fields up for development into housing as there will be transport links. Never mind that the proposed routes will be crossing over two roads that are already over capacity."

However there were some that suggested a relief road could reduce congestion.

Responding to other comments, Nick Holmes, said: "Oh what a surprise! 90 per cent of the comments are just NIMBY’s with no serious alternative!

"It’s abundantly clear to anyone who drives anywhere in Harrogate that a relief road is built - just get on with it please!

"And for all the whining about Nidd Gorge - do you people think they’re going to move the river?"

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