ERYC officers have apparently cast doubt on whether funding will be available for Preston’s traffic review. The necessary – and many residents believed, “promised” – strategic review of the impacts of traffic through Preston had been taken for granted. The need for the East Riding of Yorkshire Council (ERYC) to sit down with local ward councillors and the local plan and do an “emergency traffic review” on Preston’s traffic issues, had, it was thought, been accepted. But now it appears that council officers are indicating that this should never have been promised and the costs of such a review may prohibit its implementation.
Beverley & Holderness MP Graham Stuart recently took part in a site visit to Preston Crossroads to see the traffic situation for himself. A subsequent meeting chaired by the MP of Preston traffic campaigners, local Ward councillors and key officers from the East Riding, took place the same day. Feedback from that meeting was given at last night’s Preston Parish Council meeting. The parish council Chair, Councillor Ian Ireland, reported back on an ERYC officer’s comments that a comprehensive traffic review would cost in the region of £500,000 to undertake. And there are doubts whether funding for such a review can be raised by ERYC. Councillor Ireland reported back that the MP had issued a challenge to the ERYC to find the money. Furthermore, if there was demonstrable support in the village for such a review, then as MP, he would give his best support.
Feasibility study instead?
Rather than see the half a million pounds as an insurmountable problem, Cllr. Ireland suggested a phased approach was needed. The first step, was to seek a feasibility study that could determine the terms of reference of a comprehensive review; what would the review involve, what would be its scope, with what kind of outcomes considered, and importantly what baseline information on existing traffic issues would be collected? Such a feasibility study would be considerably less expensive, argued Cllr. Ireland, but provide essential information for the next phase.
The idea of a Preston traffic review has been descriptively labelled as ‘strategic’, ‘comprehensive and in February this year by the Chair of ERYC’s Planning Committee as an ’emergency’ review. It was considered by those following this debate as something that would certainly take place. There will be understandable disappointment in the village that the ERYC is seemingly backtracking now on the idea.
Traffic campaigners in Preston were left bemused in February by the decision to approve the building of the Lelley Fields crematorium, without first sorting out the village’s traffic issues. One responded to the idea of an urgent traffic review with the quip: “But when? Knowing the council, we could all be clients of the new crematorium before that happens!”
However, rather than giving way to cynicism, Cllr. Ireland says the village campaign needs to raise its profile and a new “collective effort” from residents needs to made to highlight the problems and the need for solutions.