There has been a good deal of comment, confusion and misinformation about a proposed crossing on Boston Spa High Street at the junction of Westwood Way, write Wetherby Ward Councillors John Procter, Alan Lamb and Gerald Wilkinson.
We thought it would be helpful to set out the exact position in this regular column to avoid any further confusion. It has been and remains a key priority for us to improve highways safety in Boson Spa.
Funding for highways improvements in the village was secured through s106 contributions linked to the Church Fields development in Boston Spa. While we were strongly opposed to that development we were also clear that if it did get the go ahead, we would look to get as good a deal as possible through planning obligations – as a result in the region of £240,000 was secured, some of which has already been spent on local highways improvements through the speed indicator devices and also the new crossing at Deepdale.
Some years ago we established a consultative forum to address highways concerns in the village, this features local parish councillors, us as ward councillors, highways officers and also local residents. This forum was involved in delivering the Deepdale crossing and the speed indicators. It is worth stressing that the Highways Officers at the City Council have been very clear that the traffic issues that we all know exist in the village are very low on their list of city wide priorities and as such they have no funding to do anything in Boston Spa – a point we totally disagree with but have been able to work around using the s106 planning obligations money.
The proposed crossing at Westwood Way has been on the table for some months now and we are keen to get it delivered as quickly as possible, it is also part of a wider piece of work that looks to bring forward a ‘shared space’ scheme for Boston Spa.
There has not been unanimous agreement within the consultative forum as to what style the crossing should take. A small but vocal minority have decided to go outside of the process and take matters into their own hands. While this may have been well intentioned some of their approaches have been less than helpful and led to delays in moving the crossing forward.
However, despite this we remain determined to find a resolution to this and are keen to find agreement as to what the new crossing should look like. We have had many representations that the crossing should be a formal zebra style and as many suggesting it should be a less formal solution designed to slow traffic and make it easier to cross without creating a more urban feel to the village.
The plans will now move forward through an imminent six-week consultation which forms part of the wider shared space proposals, within that two options will be presented for comment and we will use those responses to form a recommendation to the Council. People are of course free to express a view that there should be no crossing. The decision maker will be the Chief Officer of Highways at Leeds City Council in consultation with us as your elected Ward Councillors. It is our role to represent your views to him.
The Consultation will start in about two weeks and we will write to every house in the village to alert them to this. As part of the information gathering process during the consultation you may notice that highways officers are using new technology to assess how many people cross the road in that location. We hope that local residents will make their views known and we can then move ahead with getting the crossing installed, we look forward to hearing your comments.