CIVIC SOCIETY NEWS
CIVIC SOCIETY NEWS
Huddersfield Civic Society says Halifax Road improvement scheme will have major impact on Edgerton Conservation Area
Huddersfield Civic Society is criticising a controversial road improvement scheme on one of Huddersfield’s busiest roads.
Kirklees Council has revealed its plans to improve traffic flow along the A629 Halifax Road from Huddersfield ring road up to the Ainley Top roundabout.
While HCS supports some aspects of the plans it is worried about the number of trees that would be felled in the Edgerton Conservation Area.
HCS member Geoff Hughes says: “We are highly critical of several aspects of this scheme and objects particularly strongly to many aspects of the plans for the Blacker Road junction which involve the felling of around 80 mature trees as we believe this will seriously damage the entrance to the Edgerton Conservation Area.
“HCS therefore asks that Kirklees Council withdraws this part of the A629 traffic scheme in view of the harm caused and the fact that the council’s own traffic measurements show this is not the section of the A629 where the main delays occur.”
Here are the HCS objections which have been submitted to Kirklees Council.
The full planning applications for the A629 Phase 5 road improvement scheme are on the Kirklees website planning section and the numbers are 2021/48/92734/W and 2021/65/92745/W
Scheme Overall - Objections
1) The absence of a summary (including description, index, list of changes across all subjects since the June 2018 consultation) plus the large number of documents and the different, and often inconsistent, approaches taken for each subject and for each area of the scheme together represent serious obstacles to citizens gaining an understanding of the changes being proposed and being able to make constructive comments.
2) We note that the traffic forecasts upon which the scheme is based appear to be dated 2015 and early 2016 and that they assume continuous growth, no account being made of either the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic or of additional traffic likely to be attracted to the A629 once any scheme is completed.
3) We can find no calculations to support a carbon impact analysis of the planned increase in traffic and thus how this scheme supports Kirklees Council’s declared ‘Climate Emergency’.
4) We can find no calculations to support the assertion that the increase in nitrous oxide pollution will be within safe limits.
5) We dispute the assertion that the overall scheme, which involves creating two new parking areas in woodland, felling dozens of mature trees and suggesting their replacement with, among others, 32 leylandii conifers, produces the claimed net increase in biodiversity. We can find no calculations to support this assertion.
6) This scheme should not be progressed without consideration of its impact on surrounding roads and local residents. A local traffic management scheme should be an integral part of such a trunk road scheme, as is the case for Kirklees Council’s currently proposed A641 Bradford Road scheme that includes a traffic management scheme for roads in the nearby part of Birkby.
7) We are disappointed that this A629 Phase 5 vehicle-only traffic scheme is not accompanied by the A629 Phase 4 scheme which is intended to encourage cycling and walking in the area.
Area C (Birchencliffe) and Area D (Yew Tree Road to Ainley Top)
HCS is broadly supportive of these elements of the scheme but has the following objections:
8) There is very limited consideration of the needs of local pedestrians, cyclists and drivers who wish to turn into, out of or across the A629 at the road junctions in Birchencliffe. While new house building continues at the top of the Grimescar valley, all local services are on the opposite (Lindley) side of the A629. This forces people into car use for short local journeys and encourages accidents at the already dangerous A629 crossing points.
9) The lack of a local traffic management scheme will result in a continuing increase in non-local vehicles using local roads. The addition of an extra lane from Yew Tree Road up to the Ainley Top roundabout will support the scheme’s own forecast of a steady increase in traffic cutting down this road to reach the M62. Why not have disincentives to traffic taking such a short-cut? Also, why not a ban on HGVs taking short-cuts to/from the A629 on specific through roads in Edgerton, Lindley and Birchencliffe?
AREA B (Cavalry Arms junction)
10) The Society asks that a method is found to guarantee that the proposed replacement tree planting in adjoining properties is both undertaken and maintained in subsequent years.
Area A (Blacker Road junction)
The Society strongly objects to many of the plans in this area and believes they will seriously damage the entrance to the Edgerton Conservation Area. We ask that Kirklees Council withdraws this part of the traffic scheme as this is the area where most harm is caused yet the submitted traffic measurements show that the main delays currently occur at the other Phase 5 scheme locations.
11) We object to the intention to fell over 80 mature trees around the Blacker Road junction as we consider this will seriously harm the appearance of the Edgerton Conservation Area.
12) We consider the proposed mitigation to be woefully inadequate. From reading the various arboricultural documents we note that much of the replacement planting of trees, shrubs and hedges appears to be proposed for nearby private gardens. We see no explanation of how this planting in private gardens will be made to happen, let alone that planting will be kept to maturity, for instance replacement trees being subject to Tree Preservation Orders. We cannot see that nearby residents, some of whom lose land to the scheme, will want these plantings, particularly when tree growth will progressively reduce light into their houses.
13) We consider 37 leylandii conifers as replacement trees to be woeful. The Royal Horticultural Society website suggests these grow to between 12m and 30m after 10 to 20 years. In the planting scheme they would form a uniform high green wall, cast thick shadows and appear hideous when pruned as there is no regrowth from the ‘dead’ wood of this species. We also note that Leylandii are often described as not supporting bird or insect life and that, by shading/drying out surrounding land, they kill-off surrounding plant life and the fauna that depends on it.
14) While some of the proposed replacement tree specimens are creditable, much is not and some appears highly eccentric. A case in point is the proposal for what amounts to a green ‘wall’ of 48 Prunus lusitanica (Portugal laurel) - plus other planting - below 32 of the leylandii in just five adjoining Edgerton Green gardens. If such a density of dull planting could succeed in establishing here it would represent a serious deterioration in appearance and biodiversity at the entrance to the Edgerton Conservation Area.
15) We note mention of 15 to 30-year continuing management plans for the trees and hedges but no mention of how such management plans might operate and be enforced, nor of their needing to be included in an update to Kirklees’ Council’s Conservation Area Appraisal for the Edgerton Conservation Area.
Online petitions are available should members wish to sign. The one that most closely matches HCS’ position on this scheme can be found if you click here.
Victoria Tower, Castle Hill picture by Vinny Tyrell
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