Concerns have been raised that a decision to introduce two mini roundabouts at Knaresborough’s busiest junction will not ‘solve the problem’.
Seven years after Bond End was declared an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA), a decision to change the junction layout at Bond End was approved last Friday (January 26).
Executive Members of North Yorkshire County Council approved the report by the Bond End Steering Group which recommended the option over two others which have been investigated extensively.
But the decision has been met with mixed reaction, as the Mayor of Knaresborough, Coun David Goode suggested a lot of concerns still hadn’t been addressed.
He said: “The estimated cost doesn’t include whatever services they have to move so clearly they still have a lot of work to do.
“I’m also surprised they are saying they still have to do the safety assessment so all the residents that are impacted by the changes, none of that has been resolved as to how they are going to get out of their homes.
“It strikes me as strange that they can make a decision when they haven’t fully determined the cost and haven’t conducted a safety assessment.”
Coun Goode also highlighted that the report suggests the changes are only predicted to improve air quality in the short term, and that Bond End will still officially be an AQMA.
He said: Whatever they do, it still will not meet government targets for reductions in air pollution.
“It’s potentially a lot of money that is going to be spent for some improvements in the short term but it still doesn’t solve the problem that people desperately wanted fixing.”
However NYCC’s Executive Member for Highways Councillor Don Mackenzie, reassured that the added cost of moving services would not stop the project and that safety assessments were all in hand.
He said: “We have to change the widths of the paths on High Bond End corner, but that does mean that some telecoms cabling will have to be moved.
“We don’t know the exact cost of that but we are not expecting it to be such that we cannot go ahead. I have no personal concerns on that score.
“The safety checks have also been done, what we have said is they have not been concluding. We are deciding what types of pedestrian crossings are best placed at the junction.
“We will make sure the crossings that we put there are safe and protected.
“And the other thing is to look at how we can provide safe access for residents of Bond End to their properties.
“Perhaps putting up a notice for cars coming down High Bond End that people will be reversing out of their drives.”
Coun Mackenzie stressed that the air pollution issue at Bond End has been a subject ‘for years’ and that now was not the time to delay further.
He said: “The report makes perfectly clear that this doesn’t remove the air quality issue but it is a step in the right direction.
He added: “By 2028 I’m pretty sure it won’t be a problem anymore because most vehicles will be electric.”