Public meeting as fight for new bypass around Ackworth, Pontefract and Featherstone goes on

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An action group is stepping up a 30-year fight for a bypass around Ackworth, Pontefract and Featherstone.

The South East Link Road Action Group (SELRAG) fear proposed new housing developments in the areas will add to “unacceptable” volumes of traffic.

They have called a public meeting next week and are urging councillors and residents to back their fight.

Group chairman Des Waites said: “We want a bypass around the towns to take away the traffic because it’s incessant, and it’s totally unacceptable in terms of volume and speed.

“We can’t tolerate a development in this area and maintain the increasing situation with traffic coming through Ackworth, Pontefract and Featherstone.”

Group treasurer Keith Shaw said: “The growth plan for this area is for 2,800 dwellings. All this is going on and there’s been absolutely zero infrastructure to meet extra demands.”

SELRAG suffered a setback in 2007 when the bypass was overlooked in Wakefield Council’s transport strategy. In 2009, the Yorkshire and Humber Assembly’s Regional Transport Board turned down a multi-million pound link road plan.

Ian Thomson, Wakefield Council’s service director for planning, transportation and highways, said: “The council has carried out an assessment of planned transport infrastructure improvements and the current local road network which supports the areas identified for development in the Local Development Framework. This has been found sound after an independent examination by a government planning inspector.

“However, our road network is constantly being reviewed and as this continues it will take into consideration any future development in the area.”

Both Featherstone Town Council and Ackworth Parish Council support SELRAG’s campaign.

Coun Sarah Balfour, chairman of Ackworth parish council, said: “Increased volume of traffic from new housing in the area will only add to existing problems and safety risks. The campaign must go on.”

The public meeting will take place at Ackworth Community Centre on Bell Lane from 7.30pm on Wednesday, September 19.

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