Authorities react after worried Harrogate residents claim lives at risk at housing 'hot spot'
Residents concerned over the disruption and potential ‘danger’ caused by more than two years of new housing developments have been backed by the leader of Harrogate's Lib Dem opposition as the county council talks to developers about the issue.
Residents in the tightly-packed part of town between Kingsley Road and Bogs Lane near Knaresborough Road first began protesting about a series of new housing developments nearly 30 months ago in what has turned into one of the town’s most built-on urban areas.
Kingsley Ward Action Group - which was set up in 2019 by residents to fight developers’ plans - say the lengthy list of new housing projects, in an area that was once greenfield space, is ill-judged and ill-thought-out.
And they fear the developments could have far-reaching consequences for the area close to Harrogate High School and Bilton fields with hundreds of extra cars feeding existing traffic congestion on nearby Knaresborough Road.
Kingsley Ward Action Group also claims residents have had to cope with hundreds of heavy truck movements a day on narrow residential streets, bringing noise, pollution, dust and potential danger.
Only last week, a heavy truck from one of the building sites was in an accident with a small car at the junction of Wreaks Road and Kingsley Road resulting in serious damage to the car.
Gary Tremble of Kingsley Ward Action Group said: “We have repeatedly stated that Kingsley Road is not suitable for this type of heavy construction traffic.
“Kingsley Road is simply too narrow for these huge vehicles to safely use without endangering other vehicles and pedestrians, there have been many other near misses and damaged vehicles.
“We feel the situation has become extremely dangerous and a potential danger to life.”
Both North Yorkshire County Council and Harrogate Borough Council say the Local Plan and the planning system specifically address issues such as traffic problems and transport links in relation to new housing developments.
As part of the planning process, all developers produce a Construction Management Plan to help mitigate the impact of their operations and all developers have responsibilities under Health and Safety Construction Design and Management Regulations.
The construction sites are also visited periodically by North Yorkshire County Council's Development Management Officer who will advise site management staff should issues pertaining to overall highway safety be evident.
North Yorkshire County Council's executive member for access and transport, Coun Don Mackenzie, said the council was aware of the recent accident in the Kingsley area and was working with developers to address residents' concerns over heavy lorries where possible.
Coun Mackenzie said: "The county council is very mindful of the disruption to local residents, which inevitably accompanies large-scale residential development such as is taking place in the Kingsley/Bogs Lane area.
"Our highways area office and I regularly receive correspondence about issues like access problems, noise, mud on the road, and road safety from this area.
"We place the highest priority on road safety, as seen by our response to the collision at Wreaks Road/Kingsley Road involving a construction lorry and passenger vehicle.
"We maintain close liaison with developers and their contractors."
Officers at North Yorkshire County Council have confirmed that the concerns of Kingsley Ward Action Group are being made known to developer using hauliers for the movement of bulk materials.
Recent days has seen them email both Persimmon Homes and Stonebridge Homes about residents' complaints.
Officers from the county council add that Persimmon will try to arrange their deliveries outside of the core times when children and going to and from school, though it is unlikely that all deliveries can be prevented, they say, particularly those taken from local builders merchants will be often require the vehicles to service many sites as part of their overall delivery round.
But they pledged to continue to continuing to liaise with the various housing developers working in the Kingsley Farm area as to the impact of their operations and the complaints being received from local residents, councillors and action groups and to work with the developers to ensure operations are undertaken as efficiently and safely as possible.
But Coun Pat Marsh, the leader of the Lib Dem opposition at Harrogate Borough Council, says she believes residents have a case for stronger action and is calling for the council to meet with Kingsley Ward Action Group.
“This issue has to be addressed as further developments are occurring,” she said.
“Is someone taking this seriously and helping to make sure that these trucks don’t cause further issues?
“Something needs to be done before someone is injured or, even worse, killed.”
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