A HUNDRED people were left in the lurch when a Kirklees Council officer pulled out of a public meeting at just two hours' notice.
It was too late to stop villagers gathering for the meeting at Shepley.
They were due to grill Mark Ramsden, a highways officer, over delays on moves to cut speeding.
But at the last minute he told organisers he could not come because of family illness.
Parish councillor John Taylor said he was angered at the short notice.
He said: "At 4.45pm I received a phone call from the officer telling me that due to personal circumstances, which he'd clearly been aware of all day, he would not be able to attend the meeting at 7pm.
"He stated that there was no-one else who could be available that evening to cover for him as there was only one other colleague in the whole of Kirklees Highways that was able to answer questions on this matter.
"This left no time for us to react in any way."
Mr Taylor said villagers desperately wanted measures to slow traffic on the main A629.
Highways officers talked about cash for speed signs as far back as October 2003 - but nothing has materialised.
Villager Granville Bull was among those who found they had wasted their time.
"Imagine the anger of the very many village residents who turned up for this important meeting - some having stayed home from night work," he said.
A council spokesman said: "We apologise for any inconvenience caused to the people who attended the meeting.
"The officer due to attend was unable to go because of a family emergency.
"The chair was informed as soon as possible and information delivered to them so that it could still be discussed at the meeting."
The spokesman added that it was intended to reschedule the meeting in the near future.