Councillor voices concern at speed of Pool roads safety upgrades

Wharfedale Observer: Pool Bank New Road Pool Bank New Road

A Wharfedale councillor is calling for two long-anticipated road safety projects to be implemented faster.

Leeds City Council says a number of staff changes, along with its preparations for next year’s Tour de France, have made it “difficult to progress” some schemes as quickly as it wanted.

The authority’s highways department was replying to a query by Councillor Barry Anderson (Con, Adel & Wharfedale) about plans to lower the speed limits and introduce other changes in two areas of Pool-in-Wharfedale.

Formal discussions about introducing a lower 40mph restriction and new road markings on the A658 Pool Bank New Road, and imposing 40mph and 30mph limits at either end of the currently unrestricted Old Pool Bank, along with HGV warning signs, have been going on since early 2012.

But Coun Anderson is concerned that progress on both, despite being backed by local residents, appears to have stalled.

He said: “I have been chasing the highways department as I am not happy with the speed of their implementation of the two schemes “I am trying to get a meeting set up as quickly as possible with the new engineer to discuss how the work can be prioritised.”

In an officer’s reply to Coun Anderson’s query the council told him that: “The traffic management section has seen some significant changes in recent months with engineers being seconded to other projects and officers leaving.

“We have therefore found it difficult to progress some schemes as quickly as we would have liked.

“To try and ease the pressure we have recently appointed a new member of staff within the traffic team on a temporary basis, commencing on January 6, and his first task will be to progress the improvement measures on Pool Bank New Road.”

The local authority says the new officer will also be looking to drive forward the Old Pool Bank project, but warns that could still be some way off. It told Coun Anderson: “Whilst we will commence the feasibility, design and consultation element this financial year, due to the legal process we have to follow it will not be implemented until the next financial year. Once we have prepared the plans we will write to you formally as part of the statutory consultation process.”

Motorists are regularly caught speeding along the steep, currently 50mph Pool Bank New Road which has been the scene of some serious and fatal crashes in recent years.

Residents along the lower section of Old Pool Bank meanwhile, backed by parish and ward councillors, have been campaigning for years for measures to stop motorists speeding by their homes, and prevent HGVs taking the unsuitable route.

The upper section of the road is already a 30mph zone.

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