Rat Run Gridlock? – by Joe Cooper and Tom Scargill

Peak Time Traffic, Brownberrie Lane, Horsforth

HUGE scale new housing developments will lead to road traffic chaos on the already gridlocked A65, a new report claims.

The report, commissioned by the Wharfedale and Airedale Review Development (WARD) group, comes in the wake of the controversial decision to green-light 550 new homes on the outskirts of Horsforth.

And there are fresh concerns for Yeadon Banks as the 15-acre site appeared on Leeds City Council’s list of potential development areas, despite it being afforded village green status.

Rawdon Billing has also appeared on the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA), prompting calls for an action group to be formed to battle the plans for the 200 acre green-belt site.

MPs Greg Mulholland (Leeds North West) and Stuart Andrew (Pudsey, Horsforth and Aireborough) have backed the call, with the group expected to be formed next week.

The report argues that the scale of new homes along the A65 could lead to motorists using residential areas in north Leeds as ‘rat runs’ to avoid the queues.

It claims that since 2005, numerous residential projects have been approved along the A65 corridor, with over 1000 homes constructed primarily in Yeadon and Guiseley.

WARD chairman Dr David Ingham, a Rawdon resident who is helping to form the action group against the Rawdon Billings development, is concerned about the potential impact of the new housing on the local area.

He said: “I think North West Leeds is at breaking point. The A65 is going to be gridlocked. It can’t be extended or have another carriageway built on it – it simply cannot cope.  What is happening is disastrous and it’s having an extremely adverse effect on the quality of life of local residents. People don’t understand why this is occurring.  If you’re a regular user of that road, from Guiseley to the centre of Leeds, it will take you over an hour at rush hour along the A65.“

Plans were passed for the 550 homes at the Clariant Works site in March, after residents lost their battle to the stop the developers.

Harrow Estates, one of the developers of the Clariant Works site, said in a statement: “We’re aware of the concerns which have been aired before. These were debated at full length and in great detail at the public inquiry. The highways were found to be safe and the access to the facilities acceptable.

“This is a site that has stood derelict for a number of years and we would consider it of great benefit to the community going forward if it is put to use.”

Please contact info@WARDyorkshire.org if you are interested in a copy of the A65 traffic report.

Joe Cooper and Tom Scargill are trainee journalists at North Leeds News, studying at Leeds Trinity University College.