Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Howden Weight Limit Extension Proposals

The following are my comments on the proposed Howden Weight Limit Extension Proposals to be discussed at the meeting of the ERYC Cabinet in July 2007

The problem with HGVs in Howden appears to be two fold:

(a) Those vehicles travelling to and from the industrial estate at Breighton Airfield

(b) Those vehicles using the B1228 as a short cut to and from York

The proposal is designed to prevent the latter and also prevent those HGVs leaving the Breighton Airfield from travelling North to the York ring road, and from the ring road South to the Airfield and Howden.

The preferred option to be presented appears to allow HGV traffic movements through Howden to the Breighton Industrial Estate and up to the A163 but does not allow HGV movements any further North to the River Derwent, thus preventing HGVs using this as a direct route between Howden and York. This route is not the most direct, easiest or quickest route between Howden and York, for HGVs travelling to or from the M62, Hull, Howdendyke or Goole, so why are drivers using this route especially since the Selby Bypass has been open since the summer of 2004, which was over a year after the traffic count on which this proposal is based was carried out.

To impose this new weight limit on the road North of Breighton Airfield Industrial Estate to prevent HGVs taking a short cut to or from York via Howden is in my opinion ill thought out, with little consideration for the consequences or the impact on other communities. The proposal would ensure that the HGVs leaving the Industrial Estate are re-routed to travel through other Howdenshire villages having a detrimental impact on the communities of Bubwith, Harlthorpe, Foggathorpe and Holme on Spalding Moor. Those HGVs that are prevented from travelling to and from York though Howden will also be re-routed through these Howdenshire villages.

The beneficiaries of the proposal would appear to number relatively few and be limited to those residents of Howden’s Flatgate and Station Road, but the people who would suffer the adverse effects number many. These would include residents of Bubwith’s Main Street and Highfield Road, residents living alongside the A163 running through Harlthorpe and Foggathorpe and those residents of HOSM’s Selby Road, High Street, Howden Road and Market Weighton Road. Many residents of these communities already complain about the present number of HGV movements through the villages, feeling that the speeds and sheer numbers are damaging the roads and present a danger to pedestrians and other road users, and also damage roadside buildings.

It is also worth noting that the Flatgate entrance to Howden School is now closed therefore there are few school children walking along the side of this road. Conversely if one looks at Holme on Spalding Moor School, many parents park on High Street and Selby Road, children walk to school on the footpath alongside High Street and Selby Road, and children are encouraged to cycle to school along this route – is this a section of road onto which we really want to be diverting more HGVs?

This proposal should not be looked at in isolation, for example it is essential that future plans for the Gallymoor Site at Holme on Spalding Moor be taken into account; after all if the site capacity is increased or there are changes of use it will inevitably result in increased HGV movements along the A163.

I respectfully suggest that, as of today, this proposal is based on figures that are outdated, inaccurate and not a true reflection of the present situation as a result of the Selby by-pass, with a significant number of HGVs from the M62 travelling between Howden and York now using the A19. If this is not the case then perhaps the issue is more to do with signage from the M62 at the A19 junction or satellite navigation systems sending HGVs through Howden. This is something perhaps the ERYC can discuss with North Yorkshire Council and make representations to the companies that provide the software for satellite navigation systems. I am assuming that the results of a further traffic count carried out to determine the HGV movements as of now, with the Selby by-pass in operation, rather than using the outdated figures prior to the by-pass, are to be presented to the Cabinet.

A comprehensive risk assessment must also be carried out to determine what additional dangers are going to be created in Howdenshire villages, and how they can be addressed should such a weight limit be created as proposed.

My preferred Option

My Preferred option would be to construct a Northern link from Selby Road to Station Road as part of a future development (where a developer foots the bill), this would be a solution that has few negatives. This would be dependent on future development of the land North of Howden, with this land likely to be released within the next 2 to 3 years as confirmed by ERYC Strategic Development Services (highways). This option would also have the added advantage of not only take HGVs out of the town but would also allow a direct route to the Press Association car park ‘proposed’ for the North of Howden, removing even more traffic from Howden’s Flatgate. This could also be linked to a ‘Park and Ride’ bus from the Railway Station. The 2 to 3 year timescale for this land being released must be factored into the decision making process, especially if this could be brought forward.

In conclusion

To re-route HGVs through rural villages not only passes the problem from one community onto others but also has a detrimental effect on both the businesses who have to foot the extra fuel costs and increased travelling times, and the wider community with the increased emissions associated with lorries travelling the extra distances. Does this fit with the ERYC policy of reducing emissions through reduced journeys?

The option to have a link road constructed as part of a future development North of Howden within the 2 to 3 year timescale would be the solution that benefits all.

Cllr Paul Robinson (Howdenshire) 6th June 2007

1 comment:

Ian Shields - New Zealand said...

After my experiences of Holme-on-Spalding Moor I never thought I would hear a Howdenshire Conservative Councillor talk sense on this topic. You seem to have a good grasp of the issues and concerns. Well done!