Call for action over Cononley Lane Ends accident blackspot

Cononley and Farnhill councillors Lois Brown and Gemma Harling at the Cononley Lane Ends Junction

Cononley and Farnhill councillors Lois Brown and Gemma Harling at the Cononley Lane Ends Junction

First published in News

Councillors from two South Craven villages have united to call for work to be carried out at an accident blackspot.

The Cononley Lane Ends junction on the A629 has long been a concern for residents living in Farnhill and Cononley, and parish council leaders and North Yorkshire county councillor Patrick Mulligan (Cons, Airedale) want to see improvements.

In December, Coun Mulligan received a list of accidents across North Yorkshire over a three-year period from 2010 to 2012 and said Cononley Lane Ends junction came out as the worst accident blackspot in Craven.

“Year after year it ranks near the top of the list of accident blackspots in Craven,” said Coun Mulligan. “People from Cononley and Farnhill won’t even come out at that junction because it’s so dangerous.

Coun Mulligan also expressed frustration that the county’s accident investigation team provided the statistics but could do nothing to solve the problem.

He said safety measures to refresh lines and adjust fencing at the junction in 2011 were ineffective, an opinion echoed by Coun Lois Brown, chairman of Cononley Parish Council.

“We need to lobby for action at that junction,” she said. “We’ve talked about this for years and years, but we’ve never had a scheme accepted.

“Even though it’s been high on North Yorkshire’s list, we haven’t had enough fatalities for them to do anything about it.

“I know there’s not a lot of money around, but they have budgets for these things and I think we’re worthy of some of that budget.”

Coun Gemma Harling, chairman of Farnhill Parish Council, said: “It’s not just the number of accidents, but also the severity of the accidents. There are a lot of severe injuries, but the one thing that concerns residents is the number of near misses.

“You can’t get out from the Farnhill side of the road because you can’t see what’s coming from around the bend.

“A good 60 per cent of people will not use that junction at all. They’ll go around Kildwick roundabout instead if they want to go to Skipton.”

Coun Harling also said that villagers who wanted to use bus and train transport links to get to Skipton usually chose to get a taxi, rather than risk crossing the A629 to get to Cononley train station or the bus stop across the road.

A spokesman for North Yorkshire County Council said: “The county council will continue to monitor the Cononley Lane Ends/A629 junction with a view to installing further safety measures if necessary.

“However, since safety measures were undertaken at the junction in 2011, accidents in the area have reduced. Moreover, based on information from North Yorkshire Police, it is clear that no additional engineering safety measures would have prevented these more recent collisions, which involved driver error.

“Given the finite level of resources available for road safety improvements, we have to prioritise, to treat those locations with the highest number of accidents, and also make a judgement on the likely effectiveness of potential treatments.

“We aim to investigate all sites where there has been a cluster of collisions and, where necessary, introduce remedial measures.

“Evidence suggests that collision numbers at this site are reducing.”

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