Yorkshire villagers conduct their own traffic speed survey in argument against new homes being built

Residents use speed study to battle housing development v.1

Residents of a rural village have submitted the “shocking” results of a vehicle speed survey to a council considering a proposal to build 23 houses, saying building extra homes will only exacerbate road safety issues.

The unusual response to a housing development plan comes as North Yorkshire Council’s highways department suggested Loxley Homes Holdings’ plan to build across fields east of Burneston, near Bedale, could “lead to congestion and reduced visibility” in the village.

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In its planning application to the authority the developer states how Hambleton’s Local Plan supports the development of housing on the application site, which the former district council’s development blueprint has enshrined as having a capacity for about 25 homes.

Burneston, near BedaleBurneston, near Bedale
Burneston, near Bedale

Agents for Loxley Homes state its proposed development includes 14 two or three-bedroom market properties, some bungalows and seven affordable homes to respond to the community’s housing needs.

They added: “The area of countryside that would be lost to the development is not part of any important landscape and no significant landscape features would be affected by the development.”

The agents also state development generated traffic would be less than 20 additional vehicle movements on the local roads at peak times, meaning the impact of traffic of the proposed development in terms of safety and capacity would be insignificant.

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However, highways engineers said with cars already parked on either side of roads in the village, the addition of 23 homes and the subsequent traffic generated may lead to motorists becoming “exasperated and lead to congestion and reduced visibility”.

Burneston, Swainby with Allerthorpe and Theakston Parish Council has responded to the plans highlighting how a week-long study last summer found vast majority of vehicles in the village exceeded the 30mph limit, with one car recorded driving through the village at 73mph.

The north of the village saw an average of 1,339 vehicles a day of which only 421 were adhering to the speed limit. An average of 71 vehicles a day were found to be at 45mph or above.

Villagers say the recent opening of a 20-pitch caravan park in Burneston is likely to have worsened the situation.

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Parish councillor Mark Inkester said the parish council had paid a specialist to conduct the study following a long-running problem with speeding in Burneston which had “got steadily worse and is now the number one village issue”.

He said: “The results we got back were shocking to say the least. As you can see this is an accident waiting to happen and sadly it is only a matter of time until someone is killed or injured.

“The most worrying aspect about these results is that they showed the speeds of the vehicles were not reducing at the drop off and pick up times of the children from the school. If anything they were higher.

“If the proposed planning application for 23 more houses is agreed, the village roads will become even worse adding to the chaos and danger that the residents face each and every day.”