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

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

Cllr Richard Smith - flocktonbypass.co.ukCllr. 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.

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