Pressure growing on Kirklees Council over Flockton bypass

The latest ExaminerLive article by Local Democracy Reporter, Tony Earnshaw, starts…

"Pressure is growing on Kirklees Council to look seriously at a bypass for the traffic-clogged village of Flockton.

"The first phase could involve a feasibility study into potential routes for a relief road taking HGVs and other vehicles off the busy A637 that cuts through the community.

"Councillors who have backed residents' calls for a bypass say the cost of such a study could be as little as £80,000.

"And they say the council could apply for government money to pay for it."

The article also reminds us of what Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, originally said about funding to help places, like Flockton:

Flockton Bypass with Chris GraylingOriginal meeting of local councillors and members of the Flockton Bypass campaign group, with Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, in Huddersfield

"In comments that seemed to relate directly to the Flockton scenario Mr Grayling said: "Typically you will have a small town on a major A-road where you have got an old centre, narrow streets, lorries going through them.

"You get pollution, you get congestion and there is a clamour for a bypass. We haven't been building enough relief for those roads.""

Read the full article on ExaminerLive, here.

Visit Tony Earnshaw on facebook


Campaigners' anger after councillors pull plug on debate over Flockton bypass

… as deputy mayor Mumtaz Hussain terminates Kirklees Council meeting early.

Cllr Richard Smith - Richard Smith

Local Democracy Reporter, Tony Earnshaw writes:

Clr Richard Smith, who was prevented from tabling a motion to debate calls for a bypass in Flockton

Residents of Flockton plagued by a "constant barrage" of traffic will continue their campaign for a bypass.

Two schoolchildren joined adults to present an impassioned deputation to Kirklees Council in Huddersfield Town Hall on Wednesday evening.

But whilst their address was greeted with applause from the council chamber a motion calling for a relief road for Flockton went unheard.

Now the Conservative councillor who has already raised the issue three times has vowed to do so until the Labour-run authority takes notice.

And Clr Richard Smith (Kirkburton) offered his apologies to the people of Flockton for what he described as a "shameful display" by Labour colleagues, which culminated in Deputy Mayor Mumtaz Hussain abruptly terminating the meeting.

Clr Hussain refused to extend the meeting beyond its 9pm cut-off despite being invited to do so by Clr Smith, who was overruled twice.

And after being advised by chief executive Jacqui Gedman that there were still five minutes to go, Clr Hussain said "I've had enough."

'Absolutely appalling behaviour'

Clr Smith called it "absolutely appalling behaviour when people have made the effort to do the deputation.

"It was a slap in the face to residents who made the effort to attend."

He added: "I have raised this issue at least three times now. The bit that really annoyed me about the meeting was that I asked for standing orders to be suspended so that we could debate the issue.

"The Deputy Mayor said no. He could have used his discretion to hear it and he didn't.

"I was angry but not surprised that the Labour Group wouldn't entertain it.

"The Flockton residents' deputation was well-received. The motion I put forward wasn't just about the bypass but also about HGVs coming through the village when they shouldn't, children walking to school, and housing that is going to impact on traffic levels.

"There are a lot of people in Flockton that do not vote for my party. There isn't a political element to this. It's about a village that has got issues with traffic. We need to find a workable solution."

In presenting their deputation, local mothers Elena Delaney and Charlotte Michael pleaded for their voices to be heard.

"We are not here to antagonise, to be negative or denigrate the work that's already been done or is being done but we are here to work together and to appeal to you to please relate to our petition."

They said changes in road usage had impacted on the village, making demands for a bypass "more urgent than ever.

"Our conclusion as a group is that a bypass, or a small relief road, in actuality would be a single solution to a multitude of problems making Flockton a much safer place to be."

In response senior Kirklees councillor Peter McBride said: "It's real, it's a problem. When we get the funding we will try to resolve it.

"I am not saying that we will provide a relief road. Longer term I think there is a solution. It may be the North Kirklees Orbital Road.

"In the meantime we are doing something that is hopefully relevant, and working with you."

He said the council was looking at interim measures including travel plans for the local school and improved signage on highways.

Original ExaminerLive article.

Visit Tony Earnshaw on facebook


Flockton Delegation Best Presentation At Kirklees Council

Well done to those who represented Flockton at the Council meeting on the evening of 10 October 2018. The presentation, under the heading of point 6: Deputations & Petitions (From Members of the Public) was very well presented and equally well received.

Audio version:

This meeting was chaired by the Deputy Mayor, Councillor Mumtaz Hussain, in the absence of the Mayor, due to illness.

Unfortunately, Cllr. Richard Smith's question, at the end, was once again cut off by the Council. This was the fourth time Kirklees Council had filled time to prevent the question from being asked and answered!

Cllr. Richard Smith shared this to our facebook page:

"I would like to apologise to the people of Flockton for the shameful display earlier this evening at the Full Council Meeting.

"When the Deputy Mayor announced that we were running out of time and made it clear we would not have time to discuss the Motion I had prepared in relation to traffic issues in Flockton, the Bypass and other major road projects in Kirklees, I firstly asked that we suspended Standing Orders, which would have allowed us to discuss the motion and give it the consideration it deserves. After having lost this vote, due to, it seems many Councillors in other groups wanting an early night, I asked the Deputy Mayor, as Chair of the meeting to exercise, as is his right, discretion and grant this anyway. When this was also declined, I asked if we could take a vote on the motion.

"Unfortunately, the Deputy Mayor refused and closed the meeting at 20:58.

"I am very disappointed with the lack of courtesy shown to the good people of Flockton, especially after a small number of you, including some school children made the effort to attend the meeting and present a very well thought out and presented deputation relating to the same issues.

"I can only say I tried my best to prevent this from happening and I have already written to the Clerk, formally requesting that this be placed on the next Full Council agenda.

"The 3 Ward Councillors will continue to support the residents we represent and in time we will have our time in the Council Chamber.

"All the best, Richard." –  Kirkburton Ward Councillor

Residents responded with a number of comments (some paraphrased)

"That must have been so frustrating – so much bureaucracy and sounds like as it doesn't affect them then it can keep being put back – I personally think it's a disgrace!"

"Angry doesn't come close. I was involved in the deputation, and know how much work we put into it. I also know this is the 4th time Richard Smith has tried to discuss Flockton's issues at a council meeting and he has failed to get a hearing. This time, perhaps with many more of us watching, we can get angry at the way some of our council casually dismissed his motion because they wanted the meeting to close. I feel let down by those elected to represent me."

"They'll avoid at all costs. They don't want to spend the money. Not your fault at all, you did your best."

"It's like history repeating itself same as when we tried no body seemed to take us seriously and always bottom of the pile it's disgraceful."

"It reminds me of the shenanigans in Westminster. They are given an important issue to discuss, and waste their time on something useless until time runs out to debate it."

Another resident added:

"I will help out where I can, no problem. I can't help but think that the time for pussy footing around Kirklees Council has come and gone. I've lived here all my life and am sick of hearing all the false promises the council make and the blatant disregard for how dangerous the road has become. It simply beggars belief how they can just ignore the issue. Instead the council pass planning for even more house building , making the road even more congested. If they could make money from a bypass the bulldozers would be out road building right now! For Christ's sake this has only been going on for 65 years to my knowledge, how much more patient does this village have to be before something is done?"

Cllr. John Taylor said:
"This has been an a shocking outcome, it was clear from earlier on in the meeting that Labour did not want us to get to the motion. In the past we have extended the Council Meeting to complete important business. Whilst I am angry for myself & Richard who have worked hard on this I am really angry for the disrespectful way they have treated you Charlotte Michael & the rest of the group especially after you came and spoke so well & were applauded by the Council when you finished. It was a disgraceful outcome, showing contempt for local residents but Richard & I will try again next month & will continue to do so until we succeed, this is far too important to let them get away with. Questions need answering & support provided."

Cllr. Richard Smith replied:
"I have asked for a list of all the elected members that voted against suspension of Standing Orders. I am not certain I will get it, but if I do, I will be passing it to the Examiner.

"There are some of them that think they are there for themselves, as opposed to representing the people in our Wards and I think those that think an early pint or Coronation Street is more important than Council business should be named and shamed. I can say categorically that your 3 Ward Councillors, John, Bill and I tried to get this heard."

Resident and bypass campaigner, Elena said:
"I also felt very let down but the worst part was the feelings of the children we took to speak on our behalf as part of the deputation. They were excited and proud to be part of the democratic process and spoke confidently, passionately and eloquently and became more and more interested with the whole process following it live online after we'd left. They felt so let down and just couldn't understand why the council didn't have time to hear the motion prepared by our councillors. Especially when they realised this was the 4th time of trying. They knew that this was an important part to follow on from their deputation and despite the fact they are young and inexperienced, could clearly see that we'd been 'fobbed' off. I was shocked to hear the deputy mayor say on live webcam at the end. 'It's 9 o'clock, I've had enough' when it actually wasn't 9 o'clock and he'd purposely wasted time!! So disappointing but it has made me all the more determined that our voice will continue to be heard…"

See the Huddersfield Examiner article here (or scroll down to later post).


Flockton Bypass Group members to attend Kirklees Council meeting 10 October 2018

Members of the Flockton Bypass group will be among a limited number of the public, attending this meeting.

Flockton Bypass Deputation to Kirklees Council -
(From left to right: Elena D, Charlotte D, Ella B, Charlotte M)

Wednesday 10th October 2018 5:30 pm, Council
Venue: Council Chamber – Town Hall, Huddersfield

Commences 5:30 pm. Live on webcast if not attending.

The motion:
14: Motion submitted in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 14 as to Flockton Traffic Issues.

To consider the following Motion in the names of Councillors Smith, J Taylor and D Hall.

"This Council notes that work is now underway to produce an Option Assessment Report in relation to the North Kirklees Orbital Route which will help to determine if this is a viable scheme to develop.

Additionally the £77 million Cooper Bridge by pass, linking the A644 near junction 25 M62 and the A62 near Bradley Bar is currently in the Design phase.

The Council recognises that both these schemes have the potential to significantly affect the volume and flow of traffic in and around the village of Flockton and on the B6118.

Given the existing severe traffic problems affecting the village of Flockton and the undoubted increase in the future with developments already in construction and the potential from the Local Plan , the Council recognises that even if it were to overlook the 2 major road schemes already mentioned, without intervention, this situation will only continue to deteriorate.

Therefore the council calls on the Cabinet to undertake an assessment of any impact upon the village of Flockton & B6118 from the NKOR and A62 scheme and to ensure that due consideration is given to the issues in Flockton prior to any work starting on either of these road schemes."

Council Agenda information and documents.