A controversial £10 million road widening scheme which threatened people’s homes and gardens and left dozens of mature trees facing the axe has been scrapped.
The so-called phase 5 of the A629 Halifax Road widening scheme was “paused” last year after a review of costs by West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA).
Opponents said the scheme had effectively been dumped and called on Kirklees Council to end the uncertainty.
Now, nine months later, the council’s leader-elect Clr Cathy Scott has said the scheme will be “permanently ditched.”
The A629 scheme, costing a total of £120 million, aimed to improve links between Huddersfield and Halifax by reducing traffic congestion and improving cycling, walking and public transport routes.
Phase 5 of the project also included the widening of the Blacker Road junction at Edgerton, which required the removal of up to 126 trees, some of which were around 200 years old.
Clr Scott, who has formed a new Cabinet and expects to be elected leader of the council on September 13, has asked transport planners to remove the Blacker Road junction plans from phase 5.
Instead she wants planners to explore alternative options which would better protect local trees and deliver value for money.
The council will now submit amended proposals to WYCA, including the pledge to plant 650 new trees at Ainley Top, which were originally due to be introduced to offset the impact of the scheme at Blacker Road.
The new planting is projected to absorb around 2,500 tonnes of extra carbon over its first 30 years.
Any new plans will be subject to public consultation and the council’s planning process before being submitted to WYCA.
Clr Scott said: “Under the previous leadership of the council the plans to cut down trees at Blacker Road were shelved. Under my leadership, they are never coming back.
“Instead, we will be planting 650 new trees at Ainley Top and I have asked council officers to work up a new business case which can be presented to the West Yorkshire Combined Authority to deliver improvements and better protect our local environment.
“The wider A629 scheme will improve our road network, sustainable transport options and cut travel times but we need to make sure we are looking after our local environment as well.
“This new leadership is one that listens, faces up to our challenges and delivers on residents’ priorities.”
Phase 4 of the A629 scheme, aimed at improving cycling and walking through Lindley, was “paused” at the same time last year.
Phase 4 also proved controversial with residents opposed to plans to make Occupation Road one-way. There was also opposition to a ban on parking in Thornhill Road.
There was no mention of Phase 4 in Clr Scott’s statement and Kirklees Council has been asked for clarification.