Horse riding centre calls for traffic-calming measures on Dewsbury's Thornhill Road

A horse-riding school in Dewsbury has called on Kirklees Council to introduce traffic-calming measures as its horses are increasingly in danger of being hit by vehicles.

Neil Wray, owner of the Northern Riding Centre, located off Thornhill Road, said he is “flabbergasted” by the council’s refusal to introduce measures to slow down traffic.

He said that there had been several accidents on the road, including a recent fatality where a car flipped over.

Mr Wray added: “If our horses go out on the roads, multiple times they are nearly injured or hit by cars.”

Northern Riding Centre in Dewsbury. Left, owner of the centre Neil Wray. Right, Siddiq Birader, a rider who uses the centre. Pic: Ismail Mulla

The school has been running for more than 30 years and Mr Wray believes that developments over the decades have increased traffic on Thornhill Road.

Mr Wray said: “We’ve a lot more industry around here now. We have a lot more housing around here.

“Obviously that’s led to roads being a lot busier than they were when we started the business in 1985.”

The Northern Riding Centre also wants the council to introduce safe crossing for its horses to access the Spen Valley Greenway on the other side of the road.

Mr Wray said: “There’s multiple things that need doing. Definitely, some traffic-calming measures need putting in place because people regularly go on this road at 70 plus miles an hour.

“If there are traffic-calming measures, they’re not going to be going over speed-bumps at that sort of speed. Traffic-calming measures will go some way.

“Then a reasonable crossing. What we’ve got at the end of our drive is where the Spen Valley Greenway crosses Thornhill Road. There’s just no crossing assistance whatsoever.”

Siddiq Birader, a local resident who uses the riding centre, would like to see a pegasus crossing, which gives special consideration to horse-riders, introduced.

Mr Birader joined the centre after his mother died in October 2017. She had dementia but loved horses so he brought her to the centre.

“It gave me a bit of relief coming here after she passed away,” Mr Birader said.

He noticed issues with traffic when he was taken out on a hack with younger riders.

“Two people had to dismount and stop the traffic to allow riders to cross,” Mr Birader added.

Joanne Bartholomew, service director for commercial, regulatory and operational services at Kirklees Council, said: “In the last five years there have been three collisions reported on this stretch of road, between Forge Lane and Weaving Lane, including the most recent one. The first two were reported as involving slight injuries.

“Whilst we would like there to be no incidents on any of our roads, the information we have on Thornhill Road doesn’t at this time justify installing a crossing or other highways safety measures.”

She added that the council was unable to comment on the most recent collision but it would review its decision if a coroner’s inquest highlighted issues with the road.

Ms Bartholomew said: “The council is happy to work with the riding centre and provide advice on how they could increase visibility of the centre for approaching drivers, and improve the view for their riders as they leave the site.”