THE developers of the 'Pig Field' on the Harrogate Road, Skipton, provided as required, a road safety audit. This identified what it called 'Problem D'.

This states that a pedestrian access at the top of the site provides opportunity to cross Embsay Road.

It goes on to say that there is a substantial mature tree which is located along the road and this will present an obstruction to visibility between a waiting pedestrian and an approaching vehicle.

It adds that given the speed of the road, 60 mph, any obstruction may result in a pedestrian entering the carriageway unaware of an approaching vehicle, resulting as it says in the report, in an increase in the likelihood of a collision.

Embsay with Eastby Parish Council objected to a crossing on the bend in the first place and has argued the speed limit needs to be reduced to 40mph.

Area 5 Highways have refused all appeals to reduce the speed limit on this road despite there now being three crossing points within 200 yards and houses halfway to Embsay.

The road safety audit recommended that the tree be removed, notwithstanding it is in a Conservation Area, to provide the required visibility.

The opening in the wall is now there, the tarmac has been laid, the paving and the crossing are about to be finished.

The tree however is still there! The wall has been straightened inside the tree, and the isolated tree is already restricting the view of drivers approaching the bends.

The parish council understands there is some dispute as to who should deal with 'the removal'. Indeed there is some belated protest that the tree should remain as part of Craven's store of trees, or at the very least be replaced inside the development with a well developed example of an indigenous species.

What this all serves to exemplify however is the disconnect between Craven Planning and Highways.

Highways are a law unto themselves not accountable to the planning authority (Craven District Council) and not required to attend planning committee meetings.

Highways are themselves constrained by the amount of funding they have available, and clearly this is leading to lives being put at risk to save money.

Councillor Vince Smith

Embsay with Eastby Parish Council


In response, Karl Battersby, Director of Business and Environmental Services, North Yorkshire County Council, said: "We take our road safety responsibilities very seriously and always listen to concerns raised by the public. It has been agreed that the large tree will be removed and Millers will plant replacements within its development. Warning signs are also to be installed on the approach to the crossing.

"After extensive investigations we do not feel a reduction in the speed limit to 40mph is appropriate in this location. Speed readings taken along Skipton Road leaving Embsay village last year recorded the average speed of vehicles to be 32mph. However, please be assured that we will continue to monitor the situation."