A leading councillor has called on Kirklees Council to give certainty to residents whose homes and gardens were threatened by a road widening scheme.

The council has said that plans to fell 88 mature trees lining the A629 Halifax Road around the junction with Blacker Road at Edgerton had been “paused” after funding was withdrawn by West Yorkshire Combined Authority.

But Clr Andrew Cooper, leader of the Green Party on Kirklees Council, said it was clear the scheme hadn’t been “paused” – it had been shelved indefinitely.

Clr Cooper, who campaigned to save the historic trees, said: “The definition of a ‘pause’ is to halt briefly and I’ve spoken to council officers and this is not a pause. There’s no money for the scheme and the council is not taking it forward.

“We need to get the council to acknowledge that this is not going to be picked up tomorrow.”

There was widescale opposition to plans to make significant alterations to the Blacker Road junction as part of a wider scheme to ease congestion on the A629 between Huddersfield and Ainley Top.

The loss of dozens of trees – believed to be up to 200 years old – saw questions raised by environmental campaigners.

The independent Kirklees Climate Commission expressed doubts over carbon savings, the Woodland Trust thought the works could go against national guidelines and even the council’s own tree officer raised objections, warning the destruction of trees was against the council’s planning policy.

Many of the threatened trees were in people’s gardens and the uncertainty had blighted lives, said Clr Cooper.

“People’s homes and gardens were at risk and some may have gone to compulsory purchase had the householders not been willing to comply,” he said.

“These people need certainty. It’s their futures we are talking about and no-one wants this hanging over them.”

Clr Cooper said he planned to ask a question of Clr Will Simpson, Cabinet member for Greener Kirklees, at a full council meeting on Wednesday (November 9).

“What the council should have done is held its hands up and said ‘we have listened and decided that we will not be going ahead with the scheme.’ That is what we would expect of a council that was confident in its position.”

Clr Cooper described that stretch of the tree-lined A629 as “iconic and beautiful” and he praised campaigners for fighting for what they believed was right.

“Full credit to the protesters who were quite relentless, even at times when it looked like it was going against them,” he said.

“They lobbied councillors in the rain outside Huddersfield Town Hall, put questions to the Labour Cabinet members in full council meetings and staged ‘banners at the junction’ protests on numerous Saturday mornings.”

West Yorkshire Combined Authority has been forced to make savings to roads schemes due to rising inflation and spiralling construction costs.

It has also decided to ‘pause’ another controversial aspect of the A629 scheme – a walking and cycling route through Lindley which would have made Occupation Road one-way and banned parking on Thornhill Road.

Clr Cooper added: “The success is not an admission of error by either the Combined Authority or Kirklees. The reason given is funding constraints and overprogramming. Basically, due to inflation and other factors they haven’t got the budget they need to do everything they want to do.

“The campaigners’ victory is down to them making it so clear that this is such an unpopular scheme that it was top of the list to be cut. Now residents need certainty.”