“Pathetic!” was the retort of Preston traffic campaigner Mrs Pat Ferguson upon studying the Road Safety Audit and Speed Limit Review published by consultants as part of the planning application to build a new crematorium on Lelley Road.
In an email to the Editor, Mrs Ferguson said: “As you know, we aren’t happy about the proposals for the crematorium in Preston because, as usual, East Riding of Yorkshire Council is sticking even more traffic through Preston but doing nothing to alleviate traffic problems in Preston. The decision was deferred at the last planning meeting to await ‘an independent traffic review’. We assumed that they would take this seriously and wait until life was back to some sort of normality before doing the ‘review’ but that has not been the case. The full ‘reviews’ can be seen on the ERYC planning portal but it is, basically, a whitewash. As Chair of Preston Traffic and Safety Group, I have written a response to their pathetic ‘review’ .”
The audit and review had been commissioned by the council in support of its proposals to build a new crematorium and function suite on land to the North Of Lelley Road, Preston.
The proposed crematorium with associated access, exit, parking and landscaping including memorial gardens will be the East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s first owned and operated crematorium and the council says it meets an unmet need. The other facilities in the county, near to Driffield and in Haltemprice, are privately owned and run. As well as providing a place where residents will have a choice of funeral services and a place to commemorate loved ones, it’s also hoped to support the creation of new jobs.
However, amidst residents’ concerns about traffic in and around Preston and the potential for increasing problems in the village being brought to the attention of committee members by the traffic group and local ward councillors, the planning application was deferred by the ERYC planning committee unanimously on 14 January 2021 subject to the completion of an independent road safety review and audit.
The Audit was carried out between Monday 18th January and Monday 1st February 2021 and was based on an examination of the drawings supplied by the applicant which in this case is ERYC itself. Personal Injury Collision data for the area within the immediate vicinity of the proposed crematorium site was examined on www.crashmap.co.uk (a website which utilises collision information provided by the Department for Transport) for the five-year period 1 January 2015 to 31 December 2019. The ‘Transport Assessment’ which supported the planning application for the proposed crematorium development was made available to the Audit Team and contains details of a 7-day Automatic Traffic Count that was undertaken on Lelley Road and Sproatley Road within the site frontage during October 2020. A site inspection was carried out by one Audit Team Member on Monday 18th January 2021 between the hours of 12:30 pm and 1 pm.
The review and audit documents, published 2 February, recommend that a 50mph speed limit is suitable for both Lelley Road and Sproatley Road. They further suggest that there could be some road safety benefits in providing vehicle activated signs on Lelley Road which advise motorists if they are travelling at an excessive speed. Another recommendation is that the Highway Authority continues to monitor the traffic flow situation within Preston village itself and take ‘proportionate appropriate action if necessary’. One possible option likely to improve traffic flow, suggests the audit, would be the removal of kerbside parking through the provision of waiting restrictions, though it is noted ‘that this may not be popular with residents’.
Pat Ferguson, who is the chair of the Preston Traffic and Safety Action Group, has written a letter in response to the review and audit reports which she branded “Pathetic”. Mrs Ferguson challenged the idea that parking is curtailed on Main Street with the use of yellow lines if the congestion in the village becomes a problem. She said: “Preston has an appalling bus service so a car is a necessity for residents of the village. It is a bit two-faced of the East Riding Council to suggest this ‘remedy’ when the only access to the proposed development is via private vehicle!”
On the suggestion of lowering the speed limit, she said: “How is this going to be policed? Is it going to be the usual council response of, ‘Well, there haven’t been any deaths or serious injuries!’ What a sad indictment in that, despite concerns being raised by people who know the area, those concerns are dismissed by officers who pay the occasional visit to the site!”
Mrs Ferguson also takes issue with the limited time spent by the consultants in the area: “I note that a site inspection was undertaken for 30 minutes, 12.30 to 13.00, on 18 January 2021. Again, whilst we were under full lockdown!! It is also noted that no previous Road Safety Audits have been undertaken. Surely there should have been a full road safety audit, during ‘normal’ times, before this development even came before the planning committee? It seems to have been an afterthought undertaken after the planning decision was deferred! What an appalling state of affairs!”
Mrs Ferguson has sent a letter outlining her concerns to the planning officer dealing with the application (see below).
Read the traffic reviews and find out more about the crematorium planning application at the East Riding Public Access website and search for reference: 20/03564/STPLF.
Preston Traffic and Safety Group wish to lodge objections to the application: –
Speed Limit Review 02 February 2021
I have read the Speed Limit Review dated 2 February 2021. This mentions lowering of the speed limit, as it was noted that there was excess speed of vehicles travelling along Lelley Road. How is this going to be policed? Is it going to be the usual ERYCC response of, ‘Well, there haven’t been any deaths or serious injuries!’ What a sad indictment in that, despite concerns being raised by people who know the area, those concerns are dismissed by officers who pay the occasional visit to the site!
The traffic count on Sproatley Road was done in 2009 where the number of vehicles was noted as 2213. The automated traffic count at that same spot in October 2020 was 2241 and the conclusion was that there was no appreciable increase in traffic or, to quote the officers, ‘remained largely unchanged in 11 years’! Correct me if I am wrong, but aren’t we in the middle of a pandemic, with millions of people working from home or being advised to only go out if necessary? No wonder there is no change! What is the rush? Why not do a meaningful traffic review when life is back to some semblance of reality?
Paragraph 4.2.1 states that there will be 75 houses. In fact there is outline planning permission for 98 houses.
In summary it is suggested that if the congestion on Main Street becomes a problem, that parking is curtailed with the use of yellow lines – ‘this may not be popular with residents’! Preston has an appalling bus service so a car is a necessity for residents of the village. It is a bit two-faced of ERYCC to suggest this ‘remedy’ when the only access to the proposed development is via private vehicle!
Road Safety Audit February 2021
Preston Traffic and Safety Group are concerned about road safety around this site. The Personal Injury Collision Data states 4 injuries at Sproatley Road/Lelley Road and 4 at Lelley Road/Wyton Road. Planning officers need to note that most people who use these roads are local to the area and so are aware of the dangers. I wonder how many of the accidents were caused by drivers unfamiliar with the layout of the roads. I know that a number of residents have had ‘near misses’ due to drivers pulling out onto Wyton Road, or drivers not realising that there was a give-way at Sproatley Road/Lelley Road. Although this proposed development is being promoted as for use by residents of the East Riding, it will be used by residents of East Hull and the majority of journeys will involve a right-had turn from Lelley Road onto Wyton Road. Despite the 40 mph speed limit on Wyton Road from its junction with Lelley Road into Preston, a large number of vehicles ignore the speed limit, which poses a danger to anyone exiting Lelley Road. Added to that are vehicles to the right travelling at 60 mph and coming round an almost blind bend. To drivers unfamiliar with the roads it will almost certainly add to the number of accidents at that junction.
I note that a site inspection was undertaken for 30 minutes, 12.30 to 13.00, on 18 January 2021. Again, whilst we were under full lockdown!! It is also noted that no previous Road Safety Audits have been undertaken. Surely there should have been a FULL road safety audit, during ‘normal’ times, before this development even came before the planning committee? It seems to have been an afterthought undertaken after the planning decision was deferred! What an appalling state of affairs!!
Paragraph 1.17 states that the problems identified in this report are considered by the audit team to require action in order to improve safety and reduce the risk of collisions occurring. Shouldn’t this have been undertaken in the first instance and not as an afterthought? If this development is approved surely the most intelligent solution would be to have a roundabout at the Lelley Road/Wyton Road junction and one at the Sproatley Road/Lelley Road crossroads. This would have the effect of slowing down traffic on both roads and also leaving no margin of error as to the right of way for drivers unfamiliar with the area.
As a safety group we fiercely object to this development for the reasons stated.
Chair of Preston Traffic and Safety Action Group