Outraged residents have hit out at plans to make major changes to the layout at Hipperholme crossroads.
An outline scheme to make improvements at the busy junction has received a £2.4 million grant and some of the rest of the £1 million needed to carry out the scheme will be put forward by the developer of Southedge Quarry in Brighouse Road.
Hipperholme crossroads will be completely transformed and council bosses are working with a design company in Manchester to fine tune the blueprints printed in the Brighouse Echo in spring.
The proposals include obtaining pieces of land from the former Whitehall pub on the corner of Denholmegate Road and Leeds Road, Christ Church on the corner of Wakefield Road and Brighouse Road and the car park in between Wakefield Road and Leeds Road. The scheme also involves widening Denholmegate Road, creating three lanes on the Wakefield Road exit, and a completely new look for Leeds Road.
There will be no right or left turn from Halifax at the usual crossroad junction, instead motorists will have to go round the car park in between the new development and along Wakefield Road after going through a set of traffic lights at the end of Leeds Road.
Residents said they didn’t think it was a coincidence that plans to improve the junction had been put forward only weeks before plans for a housing development were unveiled last week at Southedge Quarry.
Councillor David Kirton (Con, Hipp/Light), who chaired a meeting of Hipperholme and Lightcliffe ward forum, told residents that nothing could go ahead with the quarry until Hipperholme junction was improved.
Residents could not understand why, if the junction was the 26th worst in West Yorkshire, Calderdale Council wanted to help build 350 more homes creating more traffic.
Councillor Colin Raistrick (Ind, Hipp/Light) said that the developer of Southedge Quarry had said he wanted to buy the pub and give the car park over to the council in order to put in the extra lane in Denholmegate Road.
He told residents that the traffic scheme had to be completed by May 2014. “If they can’t put the scheme in place to finish it by then they can’t have the money,” he said.
Residents feared that if the scheme went ahead as it had appeared in the Echo the junction would become an ‘accident blackspot’. Concerns were also raised about the number of school places to accommodate the proposed new houses.
Coun Kirton said: “The applicant will be asked to make a substantial contribution to education that could provide additional classrooms.”
Suggestions were made to re-open the railway station at Hipperholme to ease congestion but councillors said that Elland was the priority.
One resident said: “I am concerned that Hipperholme, Lightcliffe and Hove Edge are becoming a big housing estate and a traffic junction and that is it. Nobody wants to live in a big housing estate when they move to a village.”
The details of the scheme will be discussed at the next ward forum as part of the public consultation.
Councillor Kirton who chaired the meeting said: “This is why we are holding a consultation because if people are saying no then we will listen. It is no good us making a decision on our own. If people are not happy then they need to put forward their concerns. They can make their views known about the highway improvements by emailing email@example.com who is designing the scheme and as yet no planning application has been made for the Southedge Quarry.”
Residents said they were concerned about the scheme and the implications it would have on the side streets such as Barfield Road which is a residents access only street.