PLANS to change the Mayfield Road junction in Whitby have been branded “total madness” by residents, businesses and a local councillor.
Due to the growing strength of local opposition, highways bosses at North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) have already had to extend the consultation radius and the deadline for feedback.
This week NYCC started sending out consultation documents outlining £500,000 plans to change the way traffic is directed around the junction, on one of the main routes in and out of Whitby, in a bid to increase traffic flow and improve safety.
Plans include removing the traffic lights at the top of Waterstead Lane, making it a left turn only and discouraging a right turn into Waterstead Lane from the A171 direction which has caused controversy among local households, businesses and the nearby ambulance station.
Residents argue they will be stranded as leaving Waterstead Lane and going to Mayfield Road will be almost impossible without traffic light control and to get to Airy Hill Manor, Waterstead Crescent and Fishburn Park from the A171 residents will have to go down Prospect Hill via Bagdale and past the hospital and police station.
In a similar way if people want to drive from the Waterstead Lane into town or the West Cliff they will have to go via the new bridge and Church Street leading to problems elsewhere.
Tim Harrison from BHD Partnerships, based at Airy Hill Manor, said: “It will have a significant effect on clients and contractors because access is going to be drastically reduced. That is not a good thing for us but for schools, the ambulance station, residents and other businesses it will be extremely difficult to get in and out in a sensible fashion.
“It really has been very badly though out. It is just utter madness.”
Whitby Town Council will discuss it at its next meeting.
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Coun Joyce Stangoe said: “Do we need to be spending this amount of money when it will not achieve very much at all. Why does it need to be done? If they have a park and ride there will be less traffic. As it stands I don’t really see it as a major issue.”
County and borough councillor, Joe Plant demanded NYCC extends consultation to Fishburn residents and leave it open to September when the schools return.
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He said: “When I first became aware of the plans I knew there was going to be a problem straight away. It is just cutting off the area, creating more traffic congestion through Fishburn Park. The last thing we want to do is create more problems for people living there.
“I agree that something needs to be done but as it stands it would be difficult for me to support it.”
Nick West, area manager for NYCC, said plans, being funded by section 106 money from Sainsbury’s, Homebase and the Larpool Lane development, weren’t final and they want to engage with as many people as possible but hadn’t expected the proposals to generate this much interest.
Emergency services would still blue light right out of Waterstead Lane and by taking out the lights traffic flow will increase by 25 per cent.
Mr West added: “At one point it was the number one high risk site on North Yorkshire’s roads for traffic accidents. It isn’t at the moment but has been so we have got road safety problems and capacity problems.”
Other aspects of the proposals include the pelican crossing on Mayfield Road being removed; part of the footpath leading to the new bridge being taken out and joined to the new footway and the central crossing point on Prospect Hill being removed and staggered pedestrian crossings provided across the three arms of the junction.