Row erupts over Cooper Bridge and Brighouse £70m relief road plan

Councillors have agreed investment to ease congestion at Cooper Bridge
Councillors have agreed investment to ease congestion at Cooper Bridge

Anger, frustration and uncertainty surround plans to spend almost £70m on a new relief road at Cooper Bridge.

There were heated exchanges between local people and engineers behind the project during a meeting held at a working men’s club.

Residents whose houses face onto the busy A62 fear the value of their homes could tumble by as much as 30% when on-street parking is removed.

They say they will not receive any compensation.

Meanwhile some homes on neighbouring Upper Quarry Road could disappear entirely.

Kirklees Council’s “ambitious and transformational” project aims to reduce traffic on both the A62 Leeds Road and the A644 Wakefield Road serving Huddersfield and Brighouse, cut journey times and improve air quality.

Around 50 landowners affected by the plan, to begin construction in 2021, have been contacted by letter. They include householders and businesses.

Among the businesses set to lose land to the project is one of the town’s most beloved eateries.

The proprietors of Marston’s fried chicken shop, on Leeds Road, have been told they will lose six parking spaces as part of the council’s plan to alleviate congestion around the notorious three-way A62/A6107/B6118 junction.

But owner Hazel Dransfield says it could mean the shop having to move from the site it has occupied since 1985.

“This has been on the table for a long time, ever since we got the shop 33 years ago. You always think ‘It’s not going to happen’. It’s all really upsetting – a bit of a bombshell.

“Things are going to have to change. Our shop is affected by all three of the options being put forward. It’s a bit of a mess, to be honest.

“We don’t know how close we will be to the new road, or how it’s going to affect us. But we’re concerned that to fix that short bit of road they’re going to ruin our business.”

One local man, who has lived in his home for 22 years and faces losing on-street parking outside his house, said residents who attended a public meeting at Bradley & Colnebridge WMC received a brusque response from the project’s designers.

“I spoke to the head engineer and he told me, ‘There is no compensation.’

“There weren’t interested in our opinions. All they were there to do was to set out what must happen, and to bully us.

“They weren’t there to let us down gently or resolve anything. But they ought to be more diplomatic and let people down a bit easier.

“Eight properties are going to be knocked down, including one house that’s just had a £100,000 extension built.

“As for us, we’ll lose 30% of the value of our house. It’s very unfair.”

Another resident faced with losing on-street parking said the council looked set to widen the A62 by shaving off sections of greenbelt bordering the road.

But he said taking people’s gardens and imposing double yellow lines would only create more problems.

“The road isn’t patrolled. We have juggernauts parking up to buy food. Nothing is ever done.

“And further up near the Tesco store the road will still be a single carriageway. So the bottlenecks will still be there.

“There were a lot of unhappy people at the meeting. People were shouting. They were angry.

“The message seemed to be that it’s happening whether you like it or not.”

Kirklees Council remains tight-lipped over the potential effects of the relief road scheme.

A spokesperson said: “Until consultation is closed, there is no public disclosure of affected properties.

“The consultation will conclude on January 18 and, further to review, further announcements will be made.”