Ukip County Councillor David Simister has launched a social media campaign to force traffic lights at the new M&S development in Harrogate to be turned off until the work is complete.
For the last seven months, work on the new development, at Scotts Corner, has resulted in local traders claiming financial hardship due to lost business and commuters facing lengthy tailbacks during rush hours.
Despite pleas to North Yorkshire County Council by councillors, business leaders, residents and the shop keepers, the traffic lights – which only allow vehicles to move through the cross roads one direction at a time – have been kept on.
However, a technical problem yesterday morning (Monday, 31 March 2014) resulted in the lights being out – and traffic flowed freely for the first time in months. But when the fault was rectified, and the lights went on again, the traffic quickly backed up.
Coun Simister – who travels the road twice a day, has now launched a social media campaign – #switchthemoff – which is calling on Marks and Spencer and the county council to act.
Coun Simister (Harrogate, Bilton & Nidd Gorge) said: Enough is enough! The traders and commuters are at breaking point and the traffic lights must be turned off now.
This morning the traffic lights were out of action and there were no queues in any direction. As soon as the traffic lights were turned back on the traffic backed up immediately.
We are told the work is extremely complicated and I don’t doubt that it is. However, if the situation is not sorted out immediately then a number of the shops on Oatlands Parade will go to the wall.
It is even having a negative impact on businesses further down Leeds Road, as far as the St George’s roundabout.
I’m urging as many people as possible to send a message to North Yorkshire County Council and Marks and Spencer via Twitter. If both organisations are snowed under by tweets then maybe we will be taken seriously.”
The “tweet” Councillor Simister has sent – and is asking to be re-tweeted is – Traffic lights at #M&S #Harrogate are killing trade and commuting. Turn them off NOW! @northyorkscc @marksandspencer #switchthemoff