Residents opposed to changes to the road network in and around Lindley as part of improvements to the A629 met with council officers to spell out their views.

Kirklees Council has been consulting on what is known as Phase 4 of the A629 active travel scheme aimed at cutting congestion and speeding up journey times between Huddersfield and Halifax.

The most controversial proposal in a package of measures affecting Lindley would see Occupation Road becoming one-way.

Parking would also be banned on both sides of Thornhill Road for a large stretch to accommodate a segregated cycle route.

Safety features called ‘armadillos’ and ‘wands’ would be installed at the edge of cycle lanes to keep vehicles at bay but residents say those measures would be dangerous for blind, partially-sighted and disabled people.

Other plans include traffic calming on Acre Street and a 20mph speed limit on Lidget Street.

The overall scheme, funded by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, is aimed at making the area safer for cyclists and people on foot.

Residents, concerned over a poor response to online consultation, secured a face-to-face meeting with council officers at Gledholt Methodist Church on Thursday night. Around 70 people attended.

Residents are opposed to the one-way proposal for Occupation Road

The meeting was organised by Patricia McCarthy-Nuttall who said: “It was a really useful meeting and we are grateful to the council for listening to our objections.

“We are reassured that they will take our views on board and they have offered to meet us again when they have drawn up the revised proposals.”

Retired traffic police officer Martin Eaton spoke at the meeting and said the scheme was “incompatible” with the Government’s cycle infrastructure design guidelines.

READ MORE: Councillors show a united front over Occupation Road

He said it failed Treasury guidelines on spending public money and that “public benefit” had not been demonstrated.

Mr Eaton presented his findings that the Occupation Road part of the plan increases traffic mileage by over 3,500 miles per week, which will increase CO2 emissions by around 37 to 54 tonnes per year. That was incompatible with the “climate emergency” declared by Kirklees Council.

During the impassioned Q&A session, residents accused the council of “not doing its homework” as elements of the scheme, such as traffic being directed down the unadopted Savile Road, were unviable.

Residents said that the council “just want to spend the millions and are desperately trying to find the roads to do it.”

Occupation Road, Lindley

Local campaigner David Heathcote asked officers whether the route planners had actually cycled along the proposed network and was told the route had been cycled and walked.

Another resident and cyclist suggested that the council was behind the times with other councils such as Calderdale and Leeds, who have reduced speeds in certain areas, which has increased safety and made roads more amenable to cycling. The council confirmed they were now looking at this.

Council officers were asked if they had a prediction of how many cyclists would use the route. The reply was: “We haven’t got those figures.”

In response, an audience member said: “We don’t want you spending our money without a full business case.”

Summing up, Colne Valley Tory MP Jason McCartney thanked the officers for attending and said: “It’s a pity that the council leadership who make these decisions weren’t here. We’re talking about spending millions but we must remember that it’s our money.”

Mr McCartney said that he wanted the residents to feel listened to and to be part of the process, so that the resulting plans would be something they could get behind.

Council officers pledged to speak with residents again before any decisions were made. It could take a couple of months for officers to work through the responses and conduct traffic surveys in the area.

Clr Burke addresses the meeting

Lindley Liberal Democrat councillor Cahal Burke also spoke at the meeting and was reassured that residents’ views would be taken into account.

Afterwards he said: “I found the meeting with officers very worthwhile and productive. While we are waiting for responses to many of the issues, these will be considered as part of the proposals.

“It is also clear that officers are looking at options and are not defending the current proposals but actively looking at alternatives that may be ‘more amenable.’”

Clr Burke said new road surveys would be carried out and he and Clr Anthony Smith would continue to work constructively with the council.

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