'I will be going out and getting killed' - Knaresborough resident responds to Bond End plan

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A decision on whether to replace all the traffic lights at Bond End with two mini roundabouts is due to be taken at a County Council meeting tomorrow.

A report which recommends that the scheme be implemented in March this year will go before North Yorkshire’s Executive Members for Highways, Business and Environmental Services.

Ann Hill, resident of Bond End.

Ann Hill, resident of Bond End.

The decision follows years of traffic modelling, since the busy Knaresborough junction was declared an Air Quality Management Area in 2010.

Out of three potential options, the most recent traffic modelling identified Option 1 - two mini roundabouts as having the most ‘overall’ benefits.

However the report notes that modelling to forecast traffic levels in 2028 found that all three options would result in larger traffic queues than if nothing was done.

Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Highways at North Yorkshire County Council, said: “By 2028 almost certainly there will not be an air quality problem at Bond End because at that time most vehicles will be electrically powered. I think that’s something most people will understand.

“Within 10 years the number of those vehicles should have grown markedly. Our focus is very much on the near future.

“Option 1 doesn’t remove the air quality problem but it does improve it in the coming years. Of the 50 receptors which run along the side of the road on Bond End, only nine of those are forecast to be showing excessive amounts of nitrogen dioxide by 2018 but it isn’t zero.

“As the report makes clear the new traffic model isn’t going to completely solve the problem. We, along with Harrogate Borough Council, need to take other steps such as sustainable traffic measures.”

The report states that during the public consultation period, the two mini roundabout scheme ‘received a significant amount of support’.

However, some residents living on the Bond End junction have expressed concerns over the safety of the scheme, explaining that at present, the traffic lights system gives them the only opportunity to get out of their drives.

Bond End resident, Ann Hill said: “I can’t see round the bend on Ripley Road. I will be going out and getting killed. That might sound dramatic but there is nothing else to say.

“I do come out with my front - I don’t reverse but I still can’t see. It’s not just me it’s my neighbour too and she has to reverse out. It’s not just my life it’s other peoples lives too.

“They just seem to have missed that bit and I can’t seem to get an answer as to why.”

But the Coun Mackenzie said that council officers were ‘fully aware’ of those concerns and assured that consultation will continue with those residents over how best to deliver the scheme.

He said: “In the report it does make quite clear that officers and the Steering Group are fully aware of the views of residents over safety of access to their properties.

"But the Steering Group have based their recommendation on reducing air quality problems and that is the issue that we are trying to tackle here.

"Whilst I can see that the recommendation is not a perfect answer for everybody, it is a good answer for most.

"Mrs Hill has made her views very clear but the Steering Group have given us a recommendation to take forward. We will ask officers at the meeting tomorrow if there are features we can include to address those concerns."

The budget for delivering any scheme to improve air quality at Bond End is outlined in the report as £300,000, but the added cost of utility diversions underneath the road have only been estimated.

Coun Mackenzie said the council were ‘pretty determined’ not to let the cost of utility diversions stop the improvements, even if it meant the total bill for the scheme was over £300,000.

He said: “When we start to take up parts of the road and change the footpaths then there is going to be diversions for cabling and pipe work obviously we will have to pay for that.

“We are pretty determined not to let that stop us going forward. I don’t think we would allow those additional costs of utilities to hold us back.”