A59 closure: Businesses to 'come out in force' over hit to trade

North Yorkshire County Council closed the A59 at Kex Gilllast Wednesday
North Yorkshire County Council closed the A59 at Kex Gilllast Wednesday

A call has been made by businesses across the A59 for those affected by the closure at Kex Gill to 'gather in force' and appeal for more support from the county council.

Residents and businesses are set to gather at the Millstones on the A59 on Monday, June 11 at 3pm, as part of a push for more help and information to be provided following the closure of the stretch of the road.

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North Yorkshire County Council closed the A59 at Kex Gill last Wednesday for an investigation to be carried out following the discovery of a crack in the road.Traffic has since been diverted east from Skipton or west from Harrogate along the A65, A660, A658 and A61 via Ilkley and Otley.

Businesses in the area have since raised concern over the impact to trade, advertising of businesses remaining open and access to back-roads off the A59.

Lee Abbott, owner of Fewston Farm Shop And Cafe said: "We all need to come together and make our feeling clear on this. I know that I for one am having to contact Highways every day for an update on the situation.

"The situation has not changed for us, today there was just myself at the shop and its the same for quite a few others around here. Coach parties have been cancelled, with people planning to come from the west for the Wetherby Races."

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He added: "We just need answers, if the road is not going to be open for say two months or two weeks just tell us so we can plan for this.

"We will also need to talk about how signage has been organised this time, one of the signs you can see at the roundabout has overgrown grass covering part of it."

Speaking on the importance of the meeting he said: "We need all residents and businesses in the area to come out in force, and lets have something sent out there together."

The county council has today announced that the road closure will remain in place, but specialist equipment is set to brought into help investigate instability under the highway on Monday.

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Alongside this they also stated they would develop a programme following the findings of the ground investigation and issue regular updates to keep residents and businesses informed.

North Yorkshire County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Highways, said: “Unlike earlier closures, this one is not caused by instability in the slope above the highway. It appears to be caused by instability below the highway. It is a complex situation and we need to have a complete picture before finalising a way ahead. However, it is a top priority of the county council to fix this problem and to reopen the road as quickly as possible.

“We fully understand the disruption caused to local residents and businesses by this closure, but the safety of the travelling public is our primary concern, so it’s essential that the A59 remains closed at Kex Gill while these further investigations are carried out.

“Realigning this stretch of the A59 to provide a permanent solution is integral to our transport strategy for the county and work towards this is well under way.”

A public consultation on proposals for this realignment were held last autumn. The results of this are to go before the NYCC Executive and a business plan developed. Funding will then be sought from the Government. It is hoped that work could begin in 2019/2020.

NYCC Coun, Stanley Lumley a member of the Kex Gill steering group, said: “Kex Gill has always been a challenge in its current form, narrow and twisting, especially for large vehicles. I know that this current closure, as with those in the past, will have an impact on businesses along the route and communities that link with the road. As the current situation indicates, the land stability will not improve, so it is imperative the new route goes ahead as speedily as possible.”

The county council has also said today that Coun Don Mackenzie intends to attend the meeting and that the North Yorkshire County Council Highways team will contact the organiser.