Cash concerns for Bond End despite £850,000 for Knaresborough high street

Concerns have already been raised that 200,000 is not enough to bring the right solution forward for Bond End's nightmare congestion.
Concerns have already been raised that 200,000 is not enough to bring the right solution forward for Bond End's nightmare congestion.

Concern has been raised that Knaresborough’s most polluted junction will still not get enough money to solve its problems in an £850,000 scheme.

North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) announced that £850,000 of a £5.1 million government grant would be used to solve highways issues within Knaresborough, including Bond End.

But despite residents claiming a previously estimated figure of £200,000 was not enough to reduce congestion at the junction, for now the budget remains.

NYCC’s Executive Member for Highways, Councillor Don Mackenzie said: “I have previously said it’s going to cost about £200,000 to do Bond End.

“The budgeted cost is still between £150,000 - £200,000. Bear in mind there is an air quality issue at York Place too so effectively we are looking at the whole of Knaresborough high street and £850,000 is allocated to the whole of Knaresborough to look at various things we can do to get rid of air quality issues, so it’s very good news.”

When the solutions to improve traffic flow through Bond End were taken to public consultation earlier this year, only two of the seven options were going to be progressed.

However after Knaresborough people showed a strong preference for option one - to introduce two mini roundabouts and remove traffic lights - the idea is being investigated further.

Coun Mackenzie said: “We are looking a lot more closely at option one which is what most people at the consultation expressed as their preference.

“We will take a decision in due course whether to take more of that extra funding, all I would say is we are intent on solving the issue.”

But people have raised doubt that £200,000 is enough to fund such a scheme, prompting worry that the solution is being driven by money rather than public opinion.

Chairman of the Bond End Steering Group, County Councillor Bill Hoult, said: “I don’t think it’s enough and a lot of people don’t. If we get the two island solution then it certainly won’t be enough.

“I think in a way they have got to do what they said they would at the committee meeting. They said they have got to look in detail at option one and also option three just to see if they can be made to work and they also included option seven in that.

“But when they put a figure of £200,000 on it, the money dictates where they are going to go because option one just isn’t affordable under that figure. I worry this is being driven by money.”

Highways consultants, Mouchel, are now doing more traffic modelling and will meet with the area committee in June to discuss their findings.

Councillor Hoult said: “I’m a great believer in suck it and see, if you’re going to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds to find a solution isn’t it better to run a trial.

“A number of people said just draw a circle at the bottom of the high street and see what happens. Why spend £200,000 and then find out it doesn’t work.

“The problem with just doing something that then doesn’t work is that doesn’t achieve anything.”