Kirklees Council had considered building a flyover to tackle congestion in and around Cooper Bridge, a meeting was told.
There were two options for flyover relief roads – above the Cooper Bridge roundabout itself or from Junction 25 of the M62 over to Bradley – but both were discounted.
A meeting of Kirklees Council’s Economy and Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Panel was told that a flyover from Wakefield Road out towards the M62 linking the A62 Leeds Road towards Mirfield Moor and the A644 Huddersfield Road towards Dewsbury had suitable gradients.
The alternative, close to Bradley tip, was also feasible and would cause less disruption. However, there were major downsides that made both highly unlikely.
The panel was called to discuss the £75 million A62 to Cooper Bridge Corridor Improvement Scheme which has just been out to public consultation.
Programme manager Keith Bloomfield told the virtual meeting that the Cooper Bridge flyover had several issues including the impact on the historic Kirklees Estate, conservation issues and the threat to ancient woodland. Even before looking at the costs, the scheme was rejected “for many reasons,” he said.
Clr Martyn Bolt (Con, Mirfield) raised the Bradley flyover which he said would mean there wouldn’t be the two-year disruption of the scheme currently proposed.
Mr Bloomfield said the council had looked at the Bradley flyover but it would go close to contaminated land at the side of the tip and the cost of the scheme would be “astronomical” – around £120 million.
Instead the council is looking at a scheme to widen the A62 Leeds Road at Bradley; ban a right turn into Bradley Road at the Bradley traffic lights; and turn Oak Road into a one-way link between Leeds Road and Bradley Road.
Residents in Oak Road, a narrow residential street next to a recreation ground, say the plans would destroy their quality of life. People living in Oak Road and near Marstons Chicken Shop in Leeds Road would face a one-way nightmare just to get to and from their homes.
Speaking at the meeting, on behalf of Oak Road residents, Angela Howard said residents were at a loss to understand how the re-routing of traffic past their homes would help alleviate congestion.
Residents would face detours, more air pollution and road safety dangers outside their homes.
She also warned about the impact of the “constant rumbling” of traffic on a listed 200-year-old house, a historic former pub frequented by the Luddites.
“We are trying to find the positives,” she said. “But, unfortunately, we can’t see any.”
The meeting was told that the proposed scheme involved much “compromise” and Clr Robert Iredale (Lib Dem, Golcar) said that “compromise” meant that someone lost out and “that applies to residents in Oak Road.”
He described the Oak Road residents as “sacrificial lambs” and added: “The winners will be the traffic that goes through here. The losers will be areas like Oak Road.”
Councillors Harpreet Uppal, the panel chairman, and James Homewood – both ward councillors for Oak Road – expressed concerns and Clr Homewood (Lab, Ashbrow) said the “detrimental impact is very significant.”
Clr Bolt asked officers whether the impact on the former Luddite pub in Oak Road had been properly assessed. He warned that if heritage officers recommended refusal “the whole project falls.”
David Shepherd, the council’s strategic director for growth and regeneration, said the heritage would be fully assessed to ensure the plan did not fall at the first hurdle.
Mr Bloomfield raised the possibility of a “HGV weight limit ban” on Oak Road but Clr Bolt was confused over what this meant and said: “Is it a HGV ban or not?”
Clr John Taylor (Con, Kirkburton) asked about the costs of the scheme. Mr Bloomfield said £69.3 million had been earmarked by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority but estimates for the scheme currently came in at £75 million.
A sum of just less than £1 million had been awarded for development work to draw up the scheme but “slightly in excess” of £1 million had already been spent.
Clr Bolt, who confessed to being a fan of Marstons chicken and chips, asked about the impact on the popular takeaway business which he said faced having half its car park taken away by road widening.
“We are in ignorance about if there is a deal being done to relocate them,” he said. “Marstons needs to have a positive benefit. At the moment there is a significant detrimental impact on a local business that’s over 30 years old.”
Mr Bloomfield replied: “It would be inappropriate to talk about discussions we are having with Marstons but discussions are taking place with that business. We are talking to Marstons but we have not concluded anything.”
The final proposals will be presented to the council’s Cabinet, probably in late September, before going to the West Yorkshire Combined Authority for approval. If it goes ahead work could take place in 2024.