Row erupts as chaos looms on busy route

HUGE criticism has been directed at council chiefs with the impending closure of a busy route.

Ripponden New Bank shuts on July 25 for resurfacing work for at least three weeks between 7 am and 6 pm Monday-Friday.

But, numerous commuters and bus users will be hit hard and face lengthy diversions.

Businessman John Denton, of Soyland, said the council was hiding behind a health and safety argument.

“Calderdale highways scatter road closures like confetti,” he said.

“It is taking the easy option rather than giving due consideration to road users and the immense disruption people will have to suffer.”

Mr Denton, who runs Quarry Garage, Huddersfield, drives along Ripponden Bank around four times daily and said it was a tortuous diversion route through West Vale, Copley and Sowerby Bridge.

“It’s outrageous. Options could have been considered to carry out the work that possibly could include convoying traffic through to control and maintain speed,” he said.

And, those without access to a car, faced even greater inconvenience, said Mr Denton.

Pauline Law, of Stainland, works at JLA, Ripponden, and said the issue was a hot talking point between staff.

“Quite a lot of us are affected and it’s ridiculous. We have emailed the council and heard nothing back.”

She said if the closure took effect from 8 am instead of 7 am that would alleviate some of the inconvenience.

Councillor Geraldine Carter (Con, Ryburn) said while the improvements were necessary the implications of splitting communities in two were heavy.

“People are not happy and I especially feel for people who rely on public transport who will be cut off during the day,” said Coun Carter.

Council highways engineer Graham Dendle said single-file traffic was not suitable.

“Unfortunately, the situation is unavoidable.

“We are sorry the closure is going to cause disruption and if there was an alternative solution we would consider it but the bottom line is the road is too narrow.

“Legally, the road should be a minimum width of eight meters in order to introduce single file traffic. It’s a massive scheme that will cause unavoidable disruption but there is no other safe or legal alternative.”

Councillor Carter has now asked officers for copies of the relevant legislation.