Yorkshire Water’s bridge plan hit by protests from Savile Town school

BALANCING ACT: Yorkshire Water's Richard Sears at the Mitchell Laithes water treatment works in Earlsheaton. (d01031159)

BALANCING ACT: Yorkshire Water's Richard Sears at the Mitchell Laithes water treatment works in Earlsheaton. (d01031159)

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PLANS for a new access route into a Yorkshire Water treatment site have suffered a setback.

The company wants to build a new road and bridge in Savile Town to replace the current access through Earlsheaton, where families say the narrow roads cannot cope with any more wagons.

Two weeks ago, councillors asked officers to draw up final conditions before giving approval.

But this week, objectors succeeded in getting the plans called back.

Paradise Primary School gave the council 86 letters of objection and a 1,600-name petition before consultation closed last Friday.

The school says the proposed road off Bretton Park Way and bridge over the River Calder would come dangerously close to its site.

Governors’ chairman Najam Sheikh said: “We’re completely against it. However, we’re not closing the door to Yorkshire Water.”

He said an offer of road improvements, safety training and a school car park was not enough to answer concerns about congestion, noise and risk to pupils.

Yorkshire Water’s Richard Sears said: “I’m trying to solve a really serious problem for Earlsheaton. We accept it’s a dangerous situation that we need to resolve.”

He added that sending wagons down Mill Street East and the new road was the most suitable of 13 routes considered.

He said: “Mill Street East is an industrial area. There are about 53 businesses leading up to our access road and more beyond.”

Mr Sears said highways officers had no concerns and trucks would turn off 30 metres before the school.

He added that the offer made to the school was still on the table.

A council spokeswoman said the plans were recalled because of the extra objections and it was due to be heard again in April.

Coun Eric Firth (Lab, Dews East) said the decision had angered Earlsheaton families who had lived with the wagons for four years.

He said: “Not a single truck will pass that school. If this doesn’t go through, people in Earlsheaton will have to endure this traffic forever. It’s just not on.”