Letter: Time we were told about Leeds Road M&S store in Harrogate

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The traffic queues during the construction of the M&S store on Leeds Road have been well reported by you. The delays have adversely affected businesses and road users and caused extra pollution.

The contractor has in the past offered a number of weak excuses for the problems he has caused and the local authorities have kept their heads down. Surely it’s time that we were told how we ended up in this sorry state and what will be done to avoid a repeat. To this end we need to know what requirements and restrictions NYCC (as highway authority), HBC (as planning authority) and the developer did or didn’t impose on the contractor.

Specifically need to know :

1. Why did NYCC and HBC not require that the highway works and service diversions be completed before the main building works started? That would have enabled the footpaths bordering the site to have been routed through the site and obviated the need for some of the carriageway closures.

2. What if any traffic management restrictions did HBC specify when giving planning consent?

3. Why was the contractor allowed to work on both sides of the road at the same time thereby reducing the traffic lanes unnecessarily?

4. Why was the contractor not required to complete the highway works in the minimum time rather than to a programme that suited his convenience? On most days there are only one or two men working on the highway while work goes on apace to get the shop ready.

5. What examination did NYCC make of the contractor’s traffic management proposals? Why did NYCC not require the contractor to undertake queueing and delay studies to demonstrate that his proposals and temporary traffic lights would not cause unreasonable delays? Did NYCC consider imposing lane rental charges on the contractor on the days when he had TM in place as other highway authorities do?

If we don’t get any meaningful responses it is to be hoped that our councillors and MP will apply some pressure.

Jon Langham

Wayside Walk, Harrogate