A COUNCILLOR is calling for the closure of a railway crossing to ease traffic congestion in Cross Hills and Glusburn.

Coun Graham Beck (Ind), who represents the Glusburn ward, said: "The traffic is horrendous down there and that level crossing has an effect on traffic in Cross Hills and Glusburn.

"Local residents know the traffic congestion it causes," said Coun Beck."Traffic backs up there both ways, but coming from the village, you get traffic queueing all the way back past Glusburn School.

Coun Beck said he would like to see the level crossing permanently closed, stopping all traffic on the A6068 going through both ways.

"This ward is inundated with traffic and closing the crossing would have a positive influence on traffic flow," he said. "Simply shutting it would solve a lot of problems."

In addition to improving traffic flow, he said local roads would be spared from damage caused by the weight of heavy goods vehicles.

As HGVs are not allowed on Station Road, he said these vehicles would have to travel an additional six to seven minutes out of their way seeking alternative routes.

"If you close it that would stop all articulated lorries going through, and these roads were not built for them," said Coun Beck. "I'm sure local residents who live down there would be very supportive, as it would make life a little easier for them."

He said the level crossing can be down for 45 minutes out of the hour.

"The crossing is down too long and people end up waiting ages. If the rail authority would adjust signal times, it could cut the waiting times down to 30 minutes."

A former member of Glusburn and Cross Hills Parish Council, Coun Beck had suggested to close the crossing at previous meetings, but said his proposals were "batted down" because they were "not a favoured view by the majority".

A spokesman from North Yorkshire County Council highways said: “The county council is aware of this long-standing issue with traffic in and around Glusburn and Cross Hills and has considered a number of potential solutions in the past.

"The issues were discussed by the county council’s Craven Area Committee in December last year and following this, local member Coun Philip Barrett (Ind) is chairing a small working group to co-operate with Lancashire County Council to look at potential solutions to the traffic problems in South Craven.

“Similar solutions to those proposed by Coun Beck have been looked at in the past but are not without their problems.

"The county council and the working group, will, however be happy to look at Coun Beck's proposals should he wish to send them to us.

"It should however be noted that funding for highway improvements is limited with priority being given to highway maintenance – by the end of the decade the county council’s resources will have reduced by a third since 2010 at a time when the demand for services is continually rising.”