Plans to increase the number of coach tours to the set of hit ITV soap Emmerdale have taken a major blow this week, as a senior Leeds City Council officer warned adding extra traffic to the area’s roads could cause problems.
Broadcaster ITV currently has permission to allow a certain number of coaches a day to visit the site on Saturdays and Sundays for fans wishing to tour soap’s Harewood set.
The tour has proved so popular that the broadcaster is seeking permission to increase permission for the number of coaches to a maximum of 24-a-day.
But, in a letter to council planning chiefs, highways officer Neil Chamberlain warned the applicants hadn’t “adequately demonstrated” that the extra coach traffic wouldn’t cause problems in the area.
It read: “The current proposals are seeking changes to conditions 3 and 4 that would double the number of visits by coaches to 24 per day.
"Notwithstanding the absence of an established accident record associated with the existing tours, it is considered that it has not been adequately demonstrated that additional coach traffic could be accommodated within the local highway network without adversely affecting its existing operation, including vulnerable groups.”
The letter argued that the nature of the roads leading to the site were problematic for accommodating large coaches, adding: “The nature of the local road network is rural is character.
“This means that the geometry of the roads is not ideally suited to accommodating coach sized vehicles as they are unlit, have a variable/narrow carriageway width with little/no pedestrian provision and incorporate a series of tight (some 90 degree) bends.”
Concerns were also expressed about the increase such measures would mean for traffic numbers in the area.
According to the application, tours would only take place on Saturdays and Sundays between 10am and 6pm from April to September, and 10am-2pm from October to March.
The maximum number of people per coach would be 50, and no more than three coaches per hour would be allowed to visit the site. This would mean a maximum of 24 coaches per day.
It added that this was to “meet the current demand for tours and accommodate more visitors to satisfy the demand”.
The letter from Mr Chamberlain added that the applicant had been asked to consider using minibuses to bring people to the site as they would be more suited to the area’s roads. However, he added it was “understood such a system would not be commercially practical for the operator”.
Although no date has yet been set, a decision is expected to be made soon by Leeds planning committee members.
An ITV spokesperson said: “On the recommendation of a Leeds City Council Case Officer, there is a long standing application under consideration for a minimal extension to operating hours over the summer months. The decision of said application, will be made by committee in due course.”