Residents 'trapped' in Pannal as traffic grinds to a halt
Pannal residents areÂ 'trapped' in their own homesÂ as traffic continues to grind to a halt following the closure of Burn Bridge Lane.
Queues of vehicles regularly stretch from the top of Pannal Bank as they attempt to get off the busy A61 after the roadworks began this month.
Chairman of the Pannal and Burn Bridge Parish Council, Coun Howard West, says the lack of notice given to commuters combined with the usual rush hour traffic has caused a major issue for the village. With housing sites allocated across Harrogate in the draft Local Plan there are also concerns this level of traffic could become a regular issue in the future.
He said: "Traffic is building up as per usual during rush hour peaks, but since there was very little warning by the county council regarding the closure of Burnt Bridge Lane everyone had to react at the very last moment.
"Now instead of following the diversions authorised by the county council, everybody decides to come through Pannal. This coincides with people of course dropping off their youngsters for school and everyone coming up towards Cardale, every single avenue into Harrogate on the western side everyone uses Pannal, because there is no alternative."
He added: "People in Pannal,we are in effect prisoners, no one in the village goes out unless they must go out say for work. We are so worried that if this is going to happen more and more in the future then the air quality we have here will deteriorate by a huge margin."
Outside Pannal Village Hall lines of vehicles trade turns at attempting to cross the narrow bridge, only to soon again draw to a halt due to the volume of traffic stretching from the Co-Op, past St Robert's Church and on towards the West of Harrogate.
While the parish council aims to soon begin researching the volume of traffic that uses the village, in developing a Neighbourhood Plan, they fear this is 'foretaste' of what is to come if more housing sites are given the go ahead.
"Our worry is that if the Local Plan goes ahead in present format with the building of some 3,000 to 4,000 houses in Western Harrogate, then what we are seeing is just a tiny foretaste of what we are likely to get in the future, so all in all there doesn't seem to be any way out of it at this particular junction."