THE mystery of the unused pedestrian crossing in Wooldale has been revealed following a public inquiry.
The puffin crossing on New Mill Road, near the Sycamore pub, was installed in the spring of 2008 but orange hoods placed on top of the traffic lights have never been removed.
Councillors on the Holme Valley South Area Committee were repeatedly asked to explain the situation but always said legal wranglings prevented them from commenting.
But following a public inquiry, Angela and Robin Wray, the couple at the heart of the stalemate, have spoken out to clear up the confusion.
Mrs Wray, 63, whose property faces onto the crossing, told the Examiner that Kirklees Council had decided to install the crossing just four months after giving her and her husband planning permission to create a driveway – known technically as an access –right outside their driveway.
It has now emerged that in February this year, the council issued a stopping order, a legal order to block up the access, nearly two years after they originally gave it the green light.
Mrs Wray said the controversial saga had been horrendous and had taken a toll on both her and her 66-year-old husband’s health as the drive has already been built.
She said: “At the time of giving us planning permission the site of the crossing was not decided – I’ve got that in writing.
“They’ve now decided at this late stage that it doesn’t meet their guidelines.
“We have tried to deal with this in a civilised manner and we’ve had tremendous support from all the residents.
“Some people may feel we’re trying to stop road safety improvements but it’s not the case.”
And Mrs Wray said the money they had shelled out for the access was not at the heart of the row.
She added: “It’s not the cost of the access it’s the cost to our lives and the future of people who will have difficulty accessing our house.
“If we lose this we would have to move and the house would be totally devalued.
“They would be taking away disabled access as the back entrance is simply too steep.”
Margaret Dale, chair of the Wooldale Residents Association, who has led the campaign against the crossing, said people had been surprised the inquiry was only considering whether the driveway access would create a danger to the highway.
It is not considering the safety of the positioning of the crossing or the fact the access was given permission first. A decision will be made by the Secretary of State.
The decision is expected next year.