Residents call for riverside fence repairs on popular route in Mirfield

A councillor and residents have raised their concerns over the state of the roadside fencing on a popular route in Mirfield.

By Jessica Barton
Thursday, 19th May 2022, 6:00 am
Councillor Vivien Lees-Hamilton and concerned residents are calling on Kirklees Council to replace the fencing on Steanard Lane.
Councillor Vivien Lees-Hamilton and concerned residents are calling on Kirklees Council to replace the fencing on Steanard Lane.

Coun Vivien Lees-Hamilton (Con, Mirfield) fears that a car will end up in the river, or worse - a driver or passenger will lose their life - if the fencing on Steanard Lane is not repaired.

The road is a busy access route from Upper and Lower Hopton out onto Huddersfield Road towards Ravensthorpe and Dewsbury and is often used as a rat-run to beat traffic.

Steanard Lane is a windy, narrow and blind road and the concerns are that the concrete fencing between the road and the river, which has disintegrated and crumbled, will not stop cars from ending up in the river in the event of a collision.

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The fencing has disintergrated and crumbled over time.

Coun Lees-Hamilton, who has campaigned on road safety since 2002, said: “Myself and Councillor Martyn Bolt have been in dialogue with Kirklees Council for quite some time.

“Kirklees insisted that the fence was not theirs and that it belonged to the Environment Agency but It has now been confirmed by the Environment Agency that it is not theirs.

“In my view, no matter who owns the fence, Kirklees own the highway and we have a duty of care to keep our residents safe.

“Grimescar Road in Huddersfield, which also has a steep embankment down to the left and similar problems to Steanard Lane, have put up a wonderful section of crash barriers.

“The length of Grimescar Road is now protected and that is what I want to see on Steanard Lane.

“I also want to see the whole area grubbed out and cleared back, which would enable drivers to see across the bends.

“A lot of this foliage and debris from the river also now lays on the left hand side of the carriageway which travels from Mirfield to Dewsbury - meaning we have lost a good metre's worth of the carriageway on a lane that is already narrow enough.”

There are further issues around the speed limits on the lane. At three locations the average speed was recorded at 38.9 mph in a 30mph zone - on a road that in some parts is too narrow for two cars to pass.

Coun Lees-Hamilton said: “In places, that road is not appropriate for 30mph and it is certainly inappropriate for speeds higher than that.

“I have got a lot of concerns and it has become quite a dangerous stretch of road.

“We need a proper crash barrier installed such as something called a trief kerb - which would also have the potential to prevent some flooding - or ideally, we need galvanised crash barriers.

“This is an issue I am not giving up on and I want to see some pro-active and positive action and response from Kirklees Council.”

A petition has now been set up by a community road safety group which is calling for better road safety measures down Steanard Lane and in and around Mirfield.

Veronica Woollin, resident of Steanard Lane and member of the community road safety group, said: “The dangerous speeds and the dangerous state of the fence alongside the river really concerns me.

“We also have the development of 67 new homes coming to Granny Lane, which joins Steanard Lane.

“With the excess traffic that the new development is going to generate, we are worried that there will be a serious accident.

“We have an online petition going at Kirklees Council and paper copies which are in and around shops and businesses in Mirfield.

“Thank you to everyone who has taken time to sign the petition so far.”

Colin Parr, strategic director for environment and climate change said: "Kirklees Council is aware of the concerns around fencing at Steanard Lane, Mirfield.

“Investigations are ongoing with the relevant authorities to establish ownership of this fencing.

"However, in the interim, due to recent concerns around the condition of the fencing, the highways team have visited the site to assess the situation in line with the existing highway safety inspection programme.

“Any repairs considered necessary on the grounds of public safety will be carried out as appropriate."

To sign the petition, visit https://democracy.kirklees.gov.uk/mgEPetitionDisplay.aspx?ID=106&RPID=2605287&HPID=2605287