Hawes residents invited to social distancing consultation event on road changes

The full list of proposed changes for Hawes.

Hawes residents will be able to give their thoughts on proposed highway changes in the town next week.

Hawes and High Abbotside Parish Council is asking residents for their thoughts on plans put forward by North Yorkshire County Council.

Highways chiefs have proposed a new footway, new parking arrangements, a new signal crossing at the junction of the A684 and The Hill, removing or changing the one-way system and introducing new signals.

However, some of the changes were proposed in 2018, and were rejected by the local community.

County council chiefs including executive member for highways Don Mackenzie, attended a packed public meeting at the Dales Countryside Museum in July 2018 when the late county councillor and parish council chair, John Blackie, described the plans as “unwelcome, unnecessary and unworkable”.

The current chair of the parish council, Jill McMullon, said there was “shock and anger” that the changes – which she described as “almost identical” – were again being proposed.

Cllr McMullon added: “There was an unprecedented turnout by residents and businesses objecting and it was concluded by Cllr Don Mackenzie and Richard Marr from NYCC that the proposals had been rejected by the community and they would not be taken forward.

“The opinion of residents has not changed.

“Of course because of Covid-19 we cannot hold a public meeting but the turnout would be identical, such is the strength of feeling.”

The councillor said that because of Covid-19 restrictions a meeting could only consist of six people, however the parish council thought it was right to give residents the opportunity of making comments and discussing the proposals.

She added: “I as chairman plus one other parish councillor will be available at the Market Hall on Wednesday, July 8 between 1pm and 3pm.

“Social distancing will be important so there will be a maximum of four people at any one time.

“I am aware that there has been a large response to the consultation but it is important that everyone has the opportunity to talk to the parish council if they want to.

“At a time of national crisis and when businesses are only just starting to reopen and try to recover this is the last thing we need.

“We would ask that the deadline for the consultation be extended in order for businesses to at least have the chance to recover and get used to the ‘new normal’.

“I find the reemergence of these plans disrespectful to residents and businesses when only 2 years ago they were wholly rejected.”

Full details of all the proposals and the opportunity to comment on each of them can be found at www.northyorks.gov.uk/safer-roads-fund

The consultations will be open until Friday, 24 July.