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What Happened to Harrogate’s Active Travel Fund Projects?

Victoria Avenue, Harrogate
Victoria Avenue, Harrogate

What happened to Harrogate’s Active Travel Fund projects?

Events to Date

North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) made a bid for money from the Active Travel Fund Tranche 2 (ATF2), and it was announced in November 2020 that the bid was successful.

Three schemes were funded in Harrogate, plus one in Whitby. There was a timetable for two consultations, Phase 1 and Phase 2.

The Phase 1 consultation took place in February 2021; it was about the locations of the schemes. The Phase 2 consultation on the detailed plans started in March 2021.

By the time of the Phase 2 consultation, the original ambitious design for Oatlands Drive had been dropped, and NYCC consulted on a ‘nothing’ scheme. Oatlands Drive was then moved into an Oatlands Ward feasibility study – a feasibility study that still has not started.

A report was then considered by NYCC’s Business & Environmental Services Executive on 21st May 2021. It set out the timetable from then on:

Active Travel Fund timetable
Active Travel Fund timetable

Construction was supposed to start in November 2021. The DfT deadline to complete the project was 31st March 2022.

Have the two remaining Harrogate schemes been built? No. NYCC haven’t even started construction, nor announced a start date. I assume they got an extension from the DfT.

What about the Whitby scheme? Not happening, as I understand it.

Swift and Meaningful

The original DfT invitation to bid for ATF2 money set out the conditions. Councils had to show:

‘that they have swift and meaningful plans to reallocate road space to cyclists and pedestrians…including on strategic corridors. Schemes that do not meaningfully alter the status quo on the road will not be funded.’

invitation letter to councils from rupert furness of the dft, 10th july 2020

Swift and meaningful.

Yet here we are 2 years later – 3 months after the deadline for construction to be complete – and nothing has happened. We don’t even have a timetable for construction.

It’s the same every time. NYCC is a quagmire where good ideas sink. When they get their hands on a project, everything grinds to a halt.


There are consequences to this failure to deliver.

First and foremost, active travel facilities are not getting any better, when they should be. NYCC is failing its residents.

Second, the DfT is not joking when it says that standards and timetables have to be respected. NYCC think they can take the money and so whatever they like in their own sweet time, but they can’t. Is it any surprise that NYCC’s ATF3 bid failed?

North Yorkshire is unlikely to get any more active travel money until NYCC delivers on its existing commitments.

What Next?

What happens next?

Recognising that the original deadline has already been missed, we now need a sense of urgency from NYCC. So far there is no evidence of that.

I’d like to see a new timetable with clear dates for project milestones – dates that are then respected and kept to, resulting in a competent and timely delivery of these projects.

What Happened to Harrogate’s Active Travel Fund Projects?

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