Council u-turn over safety fears at junction

NADV 1502183AM Leeds Road. (91502183AM)
NADV 1502183AM Leeds Road. (91502183AM)

The controversial Leeds Road junction which has blighted commuters’ journeys for almost a year will be changed because of community concerns, the county council has said.

Almost a year after the new layout was put in place, the highways department has acknowledged there is a problem and is changing the layout.

Coun Gareth Dadd, North Yorkshire County Council’s (NYCC) executive member for highways, said: “We know there have been concerns about this new road layout and we have listened to people carefully.

“Our officers have also been monitoring the traffic and as a result we are going to make the changes people want, and make those changes as quickly as possible.”

However, campaigner Toni Medri said this action is too late and does not go far enough.

The chairman of the Oatlands Traders’ committee said: “We raised our worries about the junction with North Yorkshire before it was even done.

“Coun Dadd says they have been listening to people, but we have been telling them for a long, long time, they really do need to get on and fix this.

They considered the needs of M&S and not the needs of the people who drive and use the junction every day.”

The traders’ committee said that the queuing traffic has affected businesses on Leeds Road, as commuters are trapped in traffic jams 
as far back as St George’s roundabout.

Changes will mean that motorists driving straight on or turning left will be directed to use the nearside lane on Hookstone Road and drivers turning right on to Leeds Road will use the offside approach lane.

The changes are a result of numerous complaints regarding the safety of the layout from regular road users and traffic monitoring, the council said.

Coun Rebecca Burnett (Con, Rossett), Harrogate Borough Council cabinet member for sustainable transport ,said: “Local residents using this junction will know how frustrating the new arrangement has been and it is great that the county council is going to make the changes as soon as possible. The benefits to road safety from this change will be significant.”

This announcement comes a week after the Advertiser revealed plans for a new six- figure traffic survey of the Harrogate district, commissioned by both Harrogate Borough Council and NYCC.

Traffic issues have been at the forefront of Harrogate residents’ minds in recent weeks, as highways works at Claro Road has slowed down commuters.

Harrogate Brewing Co has embraced the problems, and following a Twitter competition named its latest beer Skipton Road Gridlock.

Managing director Anton Stark said:”Our brewery is at Claro Road, and we get stuck at the roadworks as well, so rather than getting annoyed we’ve brewed a beer.

“The beer will be available at 10 Devonshire Place and the Swan on the Stray.

“Both pubs are on Skipton Road and the traffic jams run right in front of them.”