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New twist in Wooldale's New Mill Road crossing saga

A FOUR-YEAR fight over a pedestrian crossing has taken an unexpected twist.

A FOUR-YEAR fight over a pedestrian crossing has taken an unexpected twist.

Kirklees Council wants to operate a puffin crossing outside the home of Robin and Angela Wray on New Mill Road in Wooldale.

And they seem set on switching on the crossing – even though the couple won a long battle to use the same site as a front driveway for their home.

In June 2007 the council gave the Wrays planning permission for the driveway.

But four months later Kirklees decided to build a puffin crossing opposite their house.

The crossing was installed in spring 2008 but orange hoods were placed over the lights and the crossing has never been turned on.

In September 2009 Kirklees issued a stopping-up order to prevent the Wrays’ driveway being used by vehicles. The couple appealed and a public inquiry decided last month that they could continue using their drive.

But now the council looks set to decide that the crossing can be opened – even though the Wrays will continue to use it to access their driveway.

Yesterday Mr Wray said: “You would have a crossing up the middle of someone’s drive. It would be an untenable situation and I would be worried about safety if this went ahead.”

The retired teacher added that Wooldale residents backed him in the long-running dispute.

He said: “We’ve been inundated with support because people think this is absolutely farcical.

“There’s never been an accident on this part of the road, so a crossing wouldn’t lower the accident rate.”

The council’s Cabinet will decide on Tuesday whether to back the officers’ suggestion to open the crossing. If the Labour councillors give the go-ahead, the crossing will be operational within a week.

Holme Valley South Conservative Clr Nigel Patrick backs opening the crossing.

In a report to Cabinet, he said: “I continue to support the wishes of the vast majority of the community for the crossing to be turned on and made available for use.

“We must remember that the request for this crossing came from parents living in the local community who had, and still have, concerns about the safety of crossing this busy road, particularly for young people attending school.

“If the crossing was not turned on the local community would be the losers.

“The crossing has cost a lot of money and if it was dismantled now that money would have been wasted. I fear there would be little chance of erecting a new crossing at a different location, given the current economic climate.

“That being the case, the safety of children would remain a serious concern.”

 

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