Road investment money for The Carrs

Your readers will remember the horrific accident which occurred on The Carrs.

The road which connects Briggswath and Ruswarp, on 27 January, which left Whitby woman, Cheryl Jones, fighting for her life, after being airlifted to hospital, and which, after a decade of campaigning by local residents for improvements to be made to this road to reduce the risk to pedestrians, but which, still scores so low on the improvement list, kept by North Yorkshire County Council’s Highways Department, that other projects have taken priority.

David Bowe NYCC’s Corpororate Director, said at the time,

“There are many locations in the area that would benefit from alterations to improve road safety.

“Schemes are prioritised based on a number of factors, including the overall history of personal injury in the location over the past three years, the severity of the accident and inevitably the necessary costs involved in making any improvements.

While there has been this recent accident on The Carrs, there are currently locations across the area that suffer from worse accident histories and therefore score higher against the criteria.

It is therefore unlikely the county council will be in a position to pursue improvements on The Carrs in the near future.”

Bearing in mind this priority/improvement list, and the criteria used to assess the need for improvements/repairs to roads, it seems strange that in February, 2010, Bedlam Lane, in Staveley, near Knaresborough, a little used, dead end, farm track, was resurfaced, work which caused much concern locally, especially as Alan Jobling, a County Council Highways Manager, who lives in Staveley bought a field off Bedlam Lane, in 2009, in which he keeps horses.

Catherine Nichols, the president of Staveley Cricket Club, which has premises at the entrance to the lane, said,

“The road isn’t used too much at all, it is not a busy place, it’s a road to nowhere. I have no idea why the Council have chosen it, it has never been a problem for us and we have always been happy with the old arrangement, we don’t need this doing.”

Nick Stringer, chair of Staveley and Copgrove Parish Council said,

“It is a dead end and it seems weird it is being resurfaced, some of the roads are lethal at the moment, why does this have priority?”

Why is it then that a heavily trafficked and notoriously dangerous road, is lower on NYCC’s priority list than a dead end farm track which carries virtually no traffic?

Should NYCC claim that financial constraints prevent them from undertaking the necessary improvement works on The Carrs, how do they justify the expenditure of many thousands of pounds on this seemingly needless, resurfacing of ‘the road to nowhere’?

On this point, there is also the matter of the appalling waste of public money, on the ‘Irton Tree’ fiasco, which came to light, last October, where obtaining permission to cut down a tree, which was causing damage to underground services and also nearby buildings, required the expenditure of £250,000 on legal fees. Why was this a priority and human life is not?

If there really is no money available to deal with The Carrs, perhaps an appeal could made to the coalition government by our MPs for special consideration, for a grant, to help to defray the costs of the necessary improvements?

Sheffield City Council, not noted for being supporters of the Conservative government, (we all remember the days when the red flag flew over Sheffield Town Hall and Sheffield was the heart of the ‘Socialist Republic of South Yorkshire’ under the Triumvirate leadership of Rev. Alan Billings, MP Clive Betts M.P. and former Home Secretary, David Blunkett MP) has just announced that they are to receive a special grant from the coalition government of £1.2 billion.

This money is to enable 1,200 miles of roads to be renewed, including new street lights, curbs, pavements etc.

I always thought that governments tended to favour the areas with investments of this kind, which provided its electoral support; so what happened to good old Tory North Yorkshire?

Where were our MPs whilst this money was being allocated?

Where are those strong and clear voices we hear so much of from our councillors?

I think that we should be told.

Richard Ineson, Whitby by email