Council set to order switch on of driveway-row crossing

SENIOR councillors are expected to order the switch-on of a pedestrian crossing which is directly outside the driveway of a couple's house.

The puffin crossing outside Robin and Angela Wray's house was installed in spring 2008 but orange hoods were placed over the lights and it has never been turned on.

The Wrays had been given permission for the drive outside their home in New Mill Road, Wooldale, near Huddersfield, but a blunder by Kirklees Council allowed the crossing to be built four months later.

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The Wrays were ordered by the council not to use the drive but they appealed and a public inquiry in May ruled that they could use it.

Tomorrow, the controversial issue of the 130,000 crossing will come before the cabinet committee. The council's own officers are urging them to open the crossing.

If the crossing is removed, it will cost the council another 30,000.

West Yorkshire Police has backed the opening of the crossing.

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Sergeant Paul Denton, of Kirklees south road policing unit, said the risks posed by the use of the driveway with the crossing activated would be "minimal" compared to the removal of the crossing which would mean people "having to run the gauntlet" without the puffin crossing.

In an email to the council, he said the users of the driveway would not face prosecution for stopping in the controlled area to turn into their drive.

But they would not be able to stop on the crossing to unload items, he said.

He concluded that it would be safer to have a crossing than no crossing at all.

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"There will be people who disagree with this, and only time will tell but perhaps a way forward would be to activate the crossing and review it in six months."

A report to cabinet said: "Should the crossing be removed, the difficulties for pedestrians in this area to cross the road would remain, and the requests that have been received by the council, for a facility to assist them, would continue.

"Should the crossing be removed it would be extremely difficult for the council to secure another location where a pedestrian crossing could be installed, without attracting similar objections."