Ilkley Town Council resolved this week to support plans drawn up by Bradford MDC for 20mph speed limits in Ilkley and Ben Rhydding.
These plans will cover the town south of the A65, with traffic calming measures proposed on those roads where average speeds are currently in excess of 23mph. Department of Transport national guidance is that such measures are necessary to achieve 20mph speeds. At the meeting, the Council received representations from members of the public strongly in favour of the plans, as well as from residents opposed to them. The plans will now go through a consultation process, led by Bradford MDC, including legal advertisement and a period for objections. During this process residents will be asked for their opinions and input into the plans. The Town Council will join this process and will be doing its best to ensure that the plans finally approved meet the needs of the town. It is hoped that implementation will follow during the next financial year. The Council resolved to support the implementation of the plans by providing matched funding up to a maximum of £87,500, if requested, subject to a mutually satisfactory legal funding agreement with Bradford MDC.
Since 2019/20 Ilkley Town Council has accrued Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) monies amounting to a significant proportion of the matched funding total for the scheme. This CIL money has been received from landowners and developers for the delivery of infrastructure needed to support development in Ilkley during this time and could be used to support this scheme.
Ilkley Town Mayor, Cllr Mark Stidworthy said: “Town Councillors were persuaded both of a long overdue need to take action and of the many benefits to all residents. These include safer roads, fewer accidents and injuries, and a more sympathetic environment for vulnerable pedestrians, cyclists and other road users.
"The environmental benefits include reductions in carbon emissions and harmful airborne particulates from traffic. The proposal will not impair the ability of residents to use their cars if they wish, but will create an environment in which active travel alternatives can be promoted with more confidence. This will also serve to ease congestion and release parking spaces for those who need them.”
Voting against, the Conservatives on the Town Council believe residents should be consulted and proposed that an inclusive consultation should take place before committing to this. A survey in the Council Newsletter would ensure that every household in Ben Rhydding, Ilkley and Middleton had the opportunity to have their voices heard and create their priorities.
District Cllr Kyle Green (Con, Ilkley) said: “I am shocked that the Lib Dem and Green town council, who have failed so spectacularly trying to deliver a toilet refurbishment, would not choose to consult with residents over what priorities they want to see CIL money and precept money spent on.”
"Bradford Council earns around £300,000 per year from parking charges in Ilkley and Ben Rhydding, money which is meant to be reinvested back into the towns, and with hard-working residents contributing high rates of council tax, Councillor Green is hugely frustrated that the Town Council have chosen to support Bradford Council in using Ilkley and Ben Rhydding as a cash cow instead of demanding value for money from Bradford Council.
"Speaking about a lack of consultation on spending the CIL money, Cllr Green stated, “I was contacted by the town council during the height of the pandemic telling me they were looking to spend money on this and I told them this was a totally unsuitable time to be considering these kinds of projects while the focus of all local elected representatives had to be on supporting the town and focusing on helping to save lives and bouncing back from the pandemic.
"To then not consult further with district councillors or residents is unacceptable and I have already written to Bradford Council to ensure that this project will now be subject to a full consultation. I am pleased they have agreed to this.
Had the town council bothered to consult earlier, priorities such as improving crossings on the A65, investing in playgrounds and play equipment or supporting local businesses may have been identified as residents’ priorities, or indeed ensuring a 20mph scheme focuses on key areas such as outside schools and on known speeding areas such as Bolling Road or stopping areas being used as rat runs like Wyvil Crescent.”
District Cllr Anne Hawkesworth (Ind, Ilkley) said: “It is essential that proper consultation takes place before CIL money is wasted on such projects. If necessary, highways should pay.”
Commending on responses to a ward letter send by Cllr Hawkesworth to around 800 homes about the topic she added: “I have never had such a huge response. Many saying 20mph where there are schools and proven speeding problems, but not a blanket coverage. Cameras rather than hard traffic calming."