A SEVEN-YEAR fight for a crossing on a village road is finally over.
Kirklees Council has spent £130,000 battling for the controversial traffic lights on New Mill Road in Wooldale.
And this week the crossing was finally turned on – two years after it was installed.
In 2003 residents asked Kirklees to install traffic lights on the road to help children get to Wooldale Junior School, Holmfirth High and Kirkroyds Infants.
Three years later the council decided to place the crossing outside the home of Robin and Angela Wray.
But six months later the couple won planning permission to install a driveway leading on to New Mill Road – straight on to the proposed site of the traffic lights. The Wrays had previously used a side access to their property.
Kirklees installed the crossing in 2008 but it was not activated because of the dispute with the couple, which has cost the council £130,000.
Last month the council’s Cabinet decided the crossing should be activated as soon as possible.
Kirklees workers removed the orange hoods and activated the traffic lights around 8am on Tuesday.
Mr Wray predicted yesterday that the crossing would make the road more dangerous.
“Statistics say that whenever a new crossing is put in there will be accidents,’’ he said. “It will be very sad if any accidents occur.”
Mr Wray criticised Kirklees for spending £130,000 on the dispute.
He said: “I’ve always thought this would be the outcome because they have the power and the finances. We certainly can’t afford to spend £130,000.”
Clr Nigel Patrick, who has campaigned for years for the crossing, was pleased to see it operating at last.
The Holme Valley South Conservative said: “It’s not before time. This has been a long drawn-out affair. It’s not a case of claiming victory or taking pleasure in this.
“The whole idea is that the crossing will make the road safer for the schoolchildren.”
December 2003: Wooldale residents submit a petition to Kirklees requesting a crossing on New Mill Road between Heys Road and The Sycamore pub
August 2004: Kirklees decides that a crossing is justified and sets about finding a suitable site along the 100-metre stretch of road.
April 2005: Kirklees officers and Holme Valley South councillors agree to support plan for a puffin crossing outside the Wrays’ home.
December 2006: The council’s Cabinet agrees to install the crossing.
May 2007: The Wrays apply for planning permission for a driveway leading on to New Mill Road. The council’s Highways department does not object and the request is granted a month later.
December 2007: The Wrays begin work on their new access.
May 2008: The puffin crossing is installed but not activated.
February 2009: Kirklees issues a stopping-up order to prevent the Wrays using their access on to New Mill Road.
May 2010: The Department of Transport overturns the stopping-up order following a public inquiry.
June 2010: Kirklees officers propose that the crossing should be turned on regardless of the Wrays’ driveway. The council’s Cabinet delays a decision.
September 2010: The council’s Cabinet decides the crossing should be switched on as soon as possible.
October 12, 2010: The crossing is turned on.