Ilkley Town Council call an Extraordinary Meeting after residents disagree with 20mph scheme

On Tuesday evening, Ilkley residents showed that they strongly disagreed with the proposed blanket approach of 20mph throughout Ilkley with speed humps.

At a community meeting organised by the Ilkley Road Safety Action Group, 'a show of hands' said a more targeted 20mph scheme would be much more acceptable.

The community meeting, organised by the Ilkley Road Safety Action Group (IRSAG) at the Clark Foley Centre, had been held to address the growing concerns among residents regarding the implementation of the 20mph speed limit scheme in Ilkley. The meeting was attended by more than 220 residents and provided a platform for residents to voice their opinions about the proposed new speed reduction scheme.

IRSAG Co-chairmen, Andrew Cunliffe and James Stretton explained the timeline of Ilkley’s traffic calming developments and how the hung Town Council intends to inflict 133 speed cushions on the town.

It was made very clear from the start that, although the Town Council is split 7/7 on this matter on political lines, IRSAG says it is apolitical. Group member James Stretton said he knew of people who had voted Conservative for the first time ever in May this year, specifically to oppose the speed-calming proposals.

The co-chairmen explained how we had arrived at the current state of affairs. IRSAG was founded as a result of a perceived lack of interest on the part of both Bradford and Ilkley councils in the overwhelming opposition of public consultation respondents to the proposals as they currently stand.

The speed bumps are proposed on major roads throughout Ilkley, including Grove Road, King's Road, Victoria Avenue, Valley Drive, Wheatley Lane, and Ben Rhydding Road.

It was noted that Simon D’Vali, Bradford Highways’ Senior Engineer had said at the full council meeting on 3 July that he was mandated to proceed because of a binding legal agreement between Ilkley and Bradford, pledging £87,500 of Ilkley’s money and that, without that money, Bradford would not proceed, since it had many other higher priorities for its own money. He had also stated that the public consultation (which had revealed 91% of respondents as being against speed cushions) would not reverse the scheme but only dilute it; and that, following representations from the organisers of the annual Ilkley Cycle Race, there would be no speed cushions on its route.

Andrew Cunliffe pointed out that Ilkley Town council had approved the signing of the contractual deal with Bradford, committing the £87,500, by a majority decision – but with only 7 councillors actually present - this raised doubts as to the validity of the decision.

There were many other speakers from the floor, with most vociferously against any form of ‘road engineering’.

Attendees pointed out various objections from possible mis-use of council funds to the adverse impact of speed-calming in the town on the queues on the A65.

One speaker, who actually supported a town-wide 20mph speed limit, was against speed cushions on account of the dangers they pose to cyclists. A town/parish meeting, which councillors would be obliged to attend, was also suggested.

Votes were taken by a show of hands to gauge opinion of alternative measures and there was overwhelming objection to the current proposals.

Finally, a motion was passed formally to task Bradford District Councillors to take into account the strength of feeling at the meeting and request that Bradford Council drop their proposals.

A similar motion was passed for the meeting to request that Ilkley Town Council reconsider its support for the proposals, again based on the strength of feeling at the meeting.

Both motions were carried on a show of hands with overwhelming majorities.

Ilkley Town Council have now called an Extraordinary Meeting of the Council being held on Tuesday 1st August at 7.30pm at the Clarke Foley Centre, which will be to mostly discuss the 20mph scheme. Residents are welcome to attend and an agenda will be posted on the Ilkley Town Council website this week.

Ilkley’s MP Robbie Moore, who attended the meeting, said:“ I have long argued that the current measures being forced through by Labour, the Lib Dems and the Greens are not right for Ilkley and it is infuriating that Bradford Council and Labour members of Ilkley Town Council want to push on regardless, rather than listening to what residents of the town want.

"Unsurprisingly, Labour’s parliamentary candidate is not listening to the results of the latest local consultation, which clearly indicated that 91% of Ilkley residents consulted oppose plans for blanket 20mph speed restrictions with speed humps. Likewise, a blanket 20mph zone itself without speed humps was rejected with only 481 in favour and 515 against.

"As I made clear during my statement in December 2022, what we need is a targeted approach focussing on dangerous junctions and critical areas like schools, ensuring the added protection is delivered where it is needed - and it was clear from last nights meeting and the show of hands that such an approach will be much more acceptable.

"I will be writing to Ilkley Town Council and Bradford Council to express the strong views of the town - and I only hope they listen - and stop the current proposals for a blanket 20mph zone which includes 133 speed humps, and urge them to explore a more targeted approach.”

John Grogan, the Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Keighley and Ilkley said: "I would like to propose that at this stage calming measures be implemented primarily focusing on roads near to schools. I would suggest that in the rest of the proposed 20mph area signage is used in the first instance as the primary method of enforcement."

Residents have until 12 noon on Friday 28 July 2023 to object to the plans by emailing legalobjections@bradford.gov.uk quoting the following references and giving reasons for their objections:

Road Humps – CORP/PCD/DS/414370

Speed Limits – CORP/PCD/DS/414368