Opposition groups support calls for review of £75m Cooper Bridge roads scheme

A controversial £75m roads project may be called in for an independent review

Sunday, 31st October 2021, 7:00 am
People living on Oak Road at Bradley in Huddersfield met with councillors to present their concerns over a £75m traffic scheme that would funnel traffic onto their street from the nearby A62 Leeds Road

Opposition groups voiced their concerns about the A62 to Cooper Bridge Corridor Improvement Scheme, which has been designed to cut congestion, improve air quality and reduce journey times at the Cooper Bridge bottleneck.

The most contentious element of the plan involves funnelling traffic from the A62 Leeds Road onto Oak Road, a narrow residential street, and up through Bradley.

Council chiefs in Kirklees agreed earlier this month to spend £10m to develop a business case. They ignored pleas for it to be deferred.

The decision prompted a furious response from local people who said they were “collateral damage” for the wider project.

Local Labour councillors James Homewood, Amanda Pinnock and Harpreet Uppal, who all asked for a rethink on the plans, were urged to “call in” the scheme for an independent review.

However they appear not to have acted on residents’ wishes, prompting Conservatives and Liberal Democrats to step forward instead.

At a meeting of the economy and neighbourhoods scrutiny panel on the day the five-day call-in deadline expired, members were asked by Coun Martyn Bolt (Con, Mirfield) if they would be a co-signatory to a call in.

Panel chair Coun Uppal said: “Whilst I have some disagreements about the decision itself, I’m not clear personally that the decision-making principles have been breached.”

She said pre-decision scrutiny had taken place along with public consultation and she along with Couns Homewood and Pinnock had given their views.

She said issues over HGVs using Oak Road had been raised during the consultation period and that there was still an opportunity to raise concerns via other routes.

She added: “I don’t think the scheme is perfect and we will continue to [raise concerns going forward]. We are certainly not giving up on that.”

Panel member Coun Robert Iredale (Lib Dem, Golcar) said he considered a call-in to be “democracy at work”.

He added: “It is giving the public every opportunity to have their say and therefore I would support it.”

Coun Bolt said a call-in required the completion of a pro-forma document that didn’t immediately appear on the council’s website.

He said: “It’s almost as if they’re putting obstacles in the way of it.”