Major Brighouse businesses call key road ‘dangerous and dreadful’ as they call for urgent improvements

A group of Brighouse businesses who bring in over £140 million to Calderdale’s economy every year and employ hundreds of people are calling for action to resurface Birds Royd Lane.

By Abigail Kellett
Thursday, 26th May 2022, 11:30 am

They say the poor state of the road, the main access point to the estate which is home to some of the town’s biggest firms, is putting off customers, giving a dreadful impression to visitors and putting staff in danger daily as they commute to work.

Collectively, businesses including the UK's leading manufacturer of welded steel mesh Siddall & Hilton, craft and specialist beer importer James Clay & Sons, and innovative steel manufacturer Firth Steels, turnover in excess of £144 million and employ 400 people.

Those firms, along with 20 others, say their future in Brighouse is at risk unless Calderdale Council makes urgent plans to properly resurface Birds Royd Lane, and the roads leading from it, so they can do business, provide a safe environment for their employees to work in and not feel embarrassed when clients and customers visit.

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Left to right - Danielle Hirst of Exploria, Alec Kendrick of James Clay and Sons, Andy Dawson of Siddall & Hilton, Andrew Bradbury of Severn Unival Ltd and Graeme Hirst of Exploria

Graeme Hirst, Director at Birds Royd Lane-based Exploria, said: “We manufacture high-end campervans and the state of the access roads to our premises has a significant impact on our business.

“We regularly receive negative feedback from our clients on the poor state of the roads and have had vehicles damaged in the past from large potholes. Understandably, our clients don't like their new, bespoke vehicles being driven along such a sub-standard road surface and it damages our reputation.

“Our forklift trucks also sometimes use the road and quite frankly it is unsafe, due to the uneven surface and constantly increasing size and quantity of potholes.

“Action is needed now by Calderdale Council to properly resurface the road, which is dangerous and dreadful, and not just fills in potholes with repairs that fail after just a few days.”

Other businesses on the state agree that the poor state of the road is costing them money which they might otherwise use to invest in the business, grow and create jobs.

Alec Kendrick, Head of Operations at River Street-based James Clay & Sons, said: “We have identified a trend within our repair and maintenance costs for our transport fleet that shows an average spend of £778 per vehicle per year. This is double the standard repair and maintenance costs experienced in the industry and disproportionate to the rest of our fleets at our other sites.

“As well as UK-based clients and suppliers we also have international business visitors as we import from suppliers in Japan, North America, and Europe. They visit our head office here in Brighouse and the state of the roads is frankly an embarrassment that has been commented on by them.”

Jason Bull, Director at Eurostar Commodities, said: “It can cause problems with our deliveries moving around in the wagon as there are so many potholes. It has damaged wheels of staff members cars, and it also puts visitors off driving down the road.”

The group have now written to Calderdale Council asking for an update on their plans for Birds Royd Lane and urging them to improve the state of the road as soon as possible.

Calderdale Council’s Assistant Director – Strategic Infrastructure, Steven Lee, said: “We understand the importance of well-maintained highways and do all we can to ensure that we make regular improvements to our network, including spot treatments and resurfacing programmes as well as infrastructure and safety upgrades.

“We’re aware of the concerns from local businesses around the condition of Birds Royd Lane in Brighouse and have included the road in proposals for the upcoming year’s work programme.

"The Highways Capital and Revenue Programmes report, which sets out the proposed highways projects for 2022/23, will be considered at the next meeting of Calderdale Council’s Cabinet.”