Bond End residents left 'battered' and 'upset' after battle against new roundabouts

Bond End residents have condemned the final draft plan to install two mini roundabouts at Knaresborough's busiest junction.
Bond End residents have condemned the final draft plan to install two mini roundabouts at Knaresborough's busiest junction.
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Bond End residents have said they feel 'upset' and 'battered' by nearly a year-long fight to stop a scheme which would see two 'dangerous' mini roundabouts installed at Knaresborough's busiest junction.

Plans to reduce congestion at the Bond End junction have been in the making for more than five years, after the area was found to be exceeding air pollution levels set by DEFRA.

Following a public consultation last year, North Yorkshire County Council confirmed it would be progressing a scheme to replace all the traffic lights with two mini roundabouts in a bid to improve traffic flow.

But since the plans were first revealed, they have been met with strong opposition from residents living on Bond End, who say the removal of traffic lights would make it impossible for them to leave their house safely.

Ann Hill, Bond End resident said: "I'm very upset by it all and so are many other residents. They are saying the people chose this, but this option was the least effective in solving pollution according to the original report.

"I feel battered by it all. I just feel they haven't listened to us, the residents, and we are the people who are going to be affected by it daily. Everybody says we are going to be waiting for an accident. We might be wrong but I won't be wrong because I will be too scared to come out of my drive."

At a special 'Meet the Designers' event last week, NYCC and its consultants, WSP, revealed the final draft plans to Knaresborough residents.

But Ms Hill insists that the plan is still not a safe option.

She said: "The residents were not listened to by the designers of North Yorkshire County Council and it was still felt that it was not safe to come out and to enter Church Lane.

"All the crossings will be replaced with zebra crossings, not pelican or puffin crossings which are controlled crossings. Many residents are elderly people and we have the young people from Henshaws. This is not a safe option.

"The huge lorries at Bond End can barely manage now, so the concept of them getting round a mini roundabout is just ludicrous."

Ms Hill also claimed that when she asked if she could speak to the organisation who completed the safety audits for the plans she was told she 'had to put in an Freedom of Information request'.

Councillor Don Mackenzie, NYCC Executive Member for Highways, said that officers were aware of concerns but did not consider them to be a great enough hazard to stop the scheme.

He said: "I am aware that there is one resident who lives directly on the junction who is worried that there may no longer be a gap in traffic flows at busy periods because the lights will be gone.

"There will be no more red phases during which she can enter and leave her property. Our officers are aware of her concerns but do not consider that the hazard is such that the scheme should not proceed in order to improve air quality for all residents.

Coun Mackenzie said the Meet the Designers event had been well attended and that there would be a further “Meet the Contractor” event for residents on August 13.

He added: "The NYCC website has pages devoted to the Bond End Scheme which is kept updated for the information of residents who want to find out more.

"It needs to be borne in mind that a full consultation of the options to reduce air quality problems at Bond End took place in January 2017. The current events are simply to keep residents informed.

"The highways consultants who have advised NYCC throughout this process are WSP, who have also provided the safety audits.

"I should add that all through this process Knaresborough councillors (county, borough and town) have formed the Bond End Steering Group which has advised officers and me on the way forward."

Coun Mackenzie said that the next step was for contractors to carry out the work, with the project expected to be complete between the end of August and early November.