Batley level crossing plan deferred as survey is dubbed 'a shambles'

Councillors have deferred a plan to replace a level crossing in Batley with a footbridge following concerns that local people’s objections had been overlooked.

By Tony Earnshaw, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Monday, 21st March 2022, 10:45 am
Pictured at a recent meeting to discuss the Lady Anne crossing in Batley are residents with ward councillors Habiban Zaman and Mahmood Akhtar
Pictured at a recent meeting to discuss the Lady Anne crossing in Batley are residents with ward councillors Habiban Zaman and Mahmood Akhtar

Network Rail wants to replace the manned Lady Anne Level Crossing, which links Howley Street with Stoney Lane, with a footbridge, ramp and steps.

The £2.7m project is part of electrification improvements within the mammoth £1.56bn Transpennine Route Upgrade.

But local campaigners who have fought the scheme since 2015 say concerns about pedestrian safety as well as road safety issues have not been addressed.

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Those fears were highlighted on Thursday at a meeting of Kirklees Council’s Heavy Woollen planning sub-committee.

Coun Habiban Zaman (Lab, Batley East) said locals had “huge concerns” about the proposed loss of the manned crossing, which has a segregated footway and lockable gates for vehicular use controlled by a signaller.

She slammed public meetings hosted by Network Rail as “a tickbox exercise” and described a consultation and survey as “a shambles”.

That survey, conducted by TransPennine Express, indicated that 250 people a day use the crossing but Coun Zaman said the real numbers were higher as the survey had been conducted during Covid-19 restrictions.

She also said rail staff had already been issued with redundancy notices even though the scheme had not been approved, which “further makes a mockery of the whole system”.

The committee voted to defer the plan.

At the same meeting:

Approved: Demolition of existing dwelling and erection of detached dwelling with integral garages 154 Gomersal Lane, Gomersal.

Approved: Single-storey extension at 22 Northorpe Lane, Mirfield.

Deferred: Two business units at Firths Yard, Mill Road, Dewsbury.

Deferred: Front and rear dormers and roof alterations at 3 Shirley Villas, Cartwright Street, Rawfolds, Cleckheaton.

Refused: Demolition of existing garage and conservatory and erection of single-storey rear extension and rear dormer extension. 12 Penn Drive, Hightown, Liversedge.