BRIGHOUSE could benefit from a share of a £1 billion fund to ease traffic congestion.
Four schemes have been put forward by Calderdale Council as part of the West Yorkshire Transport Fund.
These include a by-pass that deals with congestion along the A641 from Bradford Road at Bailiff Bridge to Huddersfield Road towards Kirklees, upgrading the A629 Calderdale Way from Ainley Top to Halifax, upgrading the Caldervale railway link from Leeds to Manchester and improvements along the A58 at Stump Cross and Hipperholme.
Councillor Barry Collins said Kirklees Council was also looking at building a new junction on the M62 between Rastrick and Bradley to be known as J24A and improvements at the junction at Cooper Bridge. Both of which have the support of Calderdale.
The Highways Agency is also working with both councils for potential improvements at the Ainley Top junction.
As Calderdale’s economy and environment spokesman, Coun Collins said a meeting had taken place between the two council’s, Metro and Highways Agency. “It is quite clear that the Highways Agency is now preparing for a major focus for improvements on the M62 from junctions 18-29.”
The five West Yorkshire authorities have been working for some months to create plans for a share of the £1 billion investment fund, known as West Yorkshire Transport Fund to develop transport infrastructure road schemes.
Councillor Collins said there were originally 75 plans on the table but this had been narrowed down.
“It is all part of the Leeds City Region deal arrangement which has recently been agreed with government and all five West Yorkshire authorities. If it comes off it will require government funding, support from the private sector and investment and investment from the council themselves,” he said.
No plans have been drawn up and the initial proposal several months ago for the by-pass in Brighouse was withdrawn for further work. “It is an aspiration to try and find a way to ease congestion in Brighouse town centre therefore to help connectivity between Bradford and Huddersfield,” he said.
A Kirklees spokeswoman did confirm that the motorway junction at Rastrick was something they were considering. “Discussion on this is at a very early stage and therefore there is nothing to report as yet.”
Councillor Collins added: “We are thinking about the future of Brighouse and have been for some considerable time. This is not just pie in the sky. The transport fund proposal is a more serious one with enormous potential implications for West Yorkshire and Calderdale. The transport planning is a key part in the forward thinking around the Leeds City deal and proposals, in particular to create new jobs in the area.”
He said they would be discussing the proposals at local level if the plans go through to the next stage over the forthcoming months.
But Brighouse councillor Colin Stout said they didn’t want a road to by-pass the town. “Re-opening Blakeborough’s Bridge that would ease the traffic. Trying to get to Rastrick and industrial estate on that side of town is causing a bottle neck. It is a simpler and easier solution. And in regards to the motorway junction at Rastrick if it was just a slip road for emergency vehicles then I think that would be a good idea especially with the fire station moving into that area.”
Councillor Ann Martin (Lab, Brighouse) said the sooner the roads were built the better it would be for the town. “No matter what time of day you drive through or around Brighouse, the traffic can be a nightmare.
“It is just a possibility at the moment - I am sure it is going to be a long time in the making and there will be extensive public consultation,” she said.
Tory councillor Scott Benton (Brighouse) said he was delighted to hear that the council was in the early stages of discussing plans for both a by-pass around Brighouse and an extra motorway junction at Rastrick. “Traffic around the town centre is growing year on year and we urgently require a scheme such as this to keep Brighouse moving forward,” he said. “I also feel that we need a road connection between the industrial estates on Wakefield Road and Birds Royd Lane as this would divert lorries from the town centre easing pressure on the main routes into Brighouse.”
Rastrick councillor Ann McAllister (Con) said they were considering a number of proposals. “I think it is a long time down the line but I have to say that anything that would alleviate the problems that are caused in and around Brighouse,” she said. “It is one of many things being considered to generally make our area more viable for improvements and growth. Anything that helps promote growth within our area I can only see as a good thing.”
Councillor Christine Beal (Con, Rastrick) said it was the first time she had heard of the proposals but it would be fantastic if they came to fruition.
And fellow Coun Chris Pillai (Con, Rastrick) said he didn’t know much about it but that he didn’t want Rastrick to become a rat-run between the motorway and Brighouse.
What do you think? Does Brighouse need a by-pass? Where should it go? Will an extra motorway junction help?