Councillor slams A1 upgrade delay

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THE deputy leader of North Yorkshire County Council has hit out at yet another delay in the planning process over a series of multi-million pound motorway services earmarked for the A1 upgrade - saying it could ruin his business putting more than 100 jobs at risk.

Coun Carl Les, whose family has run Leeming Bar Services at the junction of the A1 and A684 for 50 years, has been attempting to upgrade the site to motorway standard for more than two decades.

Despite claiming that Hambleton District Council has agreed to the proposals in principle, Coun Les says they have been plagued with delays after being lumped together with other applications at public inquiry.

Last month, the Leeming Bar upgrade was considered at a public inquiry alongside three competing applications to build new motorway service areas (MSAs) near Ripon and Boroughbridge, with a decision expected in June.

But Coun Les told the Yorkshire Post he was served with a letter yesterday, saying it will now be delayed to beyond August.

Meanwhile, last week Highways Agency chiefs took down the signs advertising Leeming Bar services on the northbound carriageway of the A1, which have been there since 1974, saying now the road had been upgraded they are not allowed until the site has become motorway standard, despite still being kept on the southbound carriageway.

“It is extremely frustrating and extremely worrying for the future of my business,” Coun Les said.

“We are still pressing our case with the Highways Agency over the signs but we don’t seem to be getting anywhere.”

The public inquiry originally opened in November 2010 and closed in February last year, before the Secretary of State decided to reopen it again.

When all of the motorway service area applications were first submitted, the Department for Transport had planned to continue the upgrade of the A1 dual carriageway between Dishforth and Barton, near Scotch Corner.

But in November 2010, as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review, the coalition Government announced it was axing the upgrade north of Leeming - due to start in 2014.