AN ORDER to lower the speed limit between Otley and Old Pool Bank is being proposed by Leeds City Council.

The authority, responding to calls to improve safety, is planning to extend the current 40mph limit at Old Pool Bank so that it continues further down the A660 towards Otley, until almost Caley Crags.

The bigger planned change, however, would see a lower 50mph limit imposed on the remaining, currently 60mph, section of Leeds Road stretching down to Otley.

The changes, being proposed in an order which people can comment on until November 30, are part of a £20,000 scheme that would also see an area created for a mobile police speed camera.

Residents at Old Pool Bank have been pushing for lower speed limits for years.

A tragedy in the hamlet last June, when 18 year old Kate Whalley died after being hit by a speeding car* near Bar House Bends, led to renewed calls for action and the formation of Old Pool Bank Road Safety Group.

The proposed changes fall short of what the campaign group - they believe a 30mph limit and a permanent speed camera at Old Pool Bank is needed - had wanted.

Councillor Barry Anderson (Con, Adel & Wharfedale) thinks they represent a 'good start', but concedes further measures are required.

He said: "I am very pleased the proposals are moving forward.

"There has been some concern raised locally about the proposals and, whilst I'm happy that they are now proceeding, I do agree with the view that a proper and thorough review of all speed limits in the area needs to be carried out.

"Variable speed limits on a stretch of road can lead to confusion for some drivers and lead to mistakes and errors.

"In this instance, however, the introduction of the mobile speed camera should give further evidence as to the actual speeds drivers are driving at - thus enabling the council to produce a more rounded plan in the future."

In its statement with the order, Leeds City Council says: "Following a fatal collision at the Bar House Bends there was a call for a review of the speed limit on Leeds Road between Old Pool Bank and Rotary Way / Leeds Road roundabout.

"The outcome of this review against the latest Department for Transport guidance supported a reduction in the speed limit from unrestricted to 50mph on the long straight section from Rotary Way roundabout, Otley.

"The review also concluded that the current 40mph speed limit leading into the small hamlet and through the bar house bends was the correct speed limit, although

it is proposed to extend (it) beyond the first set of properties to give approaching drivers more opportunity to reduce their speeds.

"These measures will help to facilitate and promote the safe passage of traffic."

Full details of the planned speed limit changes can be viewed at Otley Library.

Comments, quoting reference A76/JL/SL1212, should be sent to: Mr J Levine, Development Team, Legal Services, Civic Hall, Leeds LS1 1UR, or e-mailed to:

*Twenty three year old Kieran McGowan, from Harrogate, was sentenced to four years and six months imprisonment for the crime at Leeds Crown Court in June.

The court heard that McGowan had drunk five pints of beer in the hours before the crash and was travelling at 56mph when the Ford Fiesta ST he was driving struck Kate.