PLANS to change the layout of the junction at congested Steeton Top have been met with horror by local councillors.

They fear the jam-busting proposal will badly affect pedestrians and cyclists without making effective improvements for motorists.

Parish council chairman David Mullen has described Bradford Council’s decision to create an extra lane on one side and remove a traffic island as “just ridiculous”.

He said: “There’s no thought being given to it. This is a fait accompli – they’re not consulting, they’re just going to do it. I’ve put my objections in.”

Bradford Council highways engineers devised the changes as part of ongoing efforts to improve traffic flow at the traffic-choked junction.

At peak times, particularly on weekday afternoons, traffic backs from Steeton Top back through Eastburn and towards Cross Hills.

Staff at Airedale Hospital have complained about having to wait for up to an hour at teatimes to get out of the hospital grounds after finishing shifts.

In recent months council officers have looked at changing the timings of the traffic lights to help get more vehicles through during each cycle.

Then they put forward plans to remove the traffic island on the Airedale Hospital side of the junction, between the Goat’s Head and now-closed Old Star.

This will allow the creation of two lanes for traffic travelling from the hospital, one for vehicles going straight on and another for vehicles turning left down towards the bypass.

Cllr Adrian Naylor, who represents Craven ward on Bradford Council, pointed out the two lanes would be narrower than the recommended width.

He said: “The hope is this will alleviate some of the congestion problems but I can see buses and large lorries straddling the two lanes, so it won’t work all the time. It will also obliterate any space for cyclists.”

Cllr David Mullen, chairman of Steeton-with-Eastburn Parish Council, said: “The traffic island is a safe haven for people crossing the road. Instead they’re going to put in substandard lanes.

Cllr Mullen said that when traffic for the bypass received the green light to set off, there would also be a green light for left-turning traffic from the Airedale Hospital side.

But he warned: “Anything larger than a standard vehicle will not get round because of the traffic going up.

“What I can see happening is people in the left turning lane going on to the pavement to get round when they can’t fit.”

Bradford Council was not available for comment.