County Council rush through plans to develop the Woodlands traffic lights in Harrogate

13 July 2014

North Yorkshire County Council have announced plans to develop the Woodlands traffic lights on the Wetherby road (A661) in Harrogate at the junction of Hookstone Drive/ Hookstone Chase.

The plans are to modify the road layout to have two lanes, rather than the current three for queueing at the lights on the route both into and out of the town. The left lane would be a left feed/ straight on and the right lane would be a right turn/ straight on. They would feed into a two-lane merge on the exit of the junction.

The work is being planned by the Highways Department at North Yorkshire County Council, the department that managed the development of the junction changes on the Leeds Road in Harrogate, causing large traffic delays.

Highways say that the work is needed to improve the flow of traffic through the junction and that there are safety benefits to pedestrians with improved traffic islands.

There are no plans to include advisory cycle lanes coming up to the junction as the width of the highway is not sufficient to accommodate.

Highways also say there will be improvement in air quality and less driver frustration.

Crucially though, there has been no involvement with the general public and there are no plans to have a public consultation. The work is being rushed through and is due to start on 21 July 2014.

Helen Flynn, spokesperson for the Libdems said: Frankly I am surprised and appalled that there has been no public consultation at all, given the importance of this junction and the fact that money was secured from the Department for Transport three years ago to do this work.

The works are due to start on 21 July 2014, so there has been ample time to ask people and local businesses their views.

I am also dismayed that the opportunity has not been taken to properly cater for bikes in the plans I have seen.

We need to secure a proper cycling legacy from the Tour de France, and these works could have formed a part of that legacy.


County Councillor David Simister (Ukip, Bilton & Nidd Gorge) said: When the county council’s highways department says it is consulting what it really means is it is doing anything but!

Two weeks before work commences we are shown the final plans and informed that, even if we had seen them earlier, it would have still been too late to make any changes.

It is almost a copycat of new layout on Leeds Road, at its junction with Hookstone Road and Leadhall Lane, which has not made any improvements at all.


Tony Medri, of the Leeds road, Oatlans comitte said: After studying the proposed schematic of the junction one can clearly see that the same model or a very similar one to the Leeds Road junction has been utilized.

The reduction of three(3) lanes to two(2) on the inbound and outbound Wetherby Road will increase standing traffic and encourage frustrated drivers to take risks.The funding for such improvements given by the LSTF clearly states (to reduce the carbon foot print and to improve the economy).

Increasing the standing time of traffic as will be the case if such a proposal is implemented will dramatically increase the accumulation of harmful gases in the vicinity, namely CO/2 and NO/2.

NYCC have had over five months to contact businesses and residents and conduct a proper consultation.

On the 7 Jan2014 the Steering Group presented the draft proposal for the junction….. On the 25 June 2014 local Councillors were given the opportunity to accept or comment on the proposal, but had to respond by the 9 July 2014.

Three premises that are owned by us located next to the junction have not been informed along with many other residents. NYCC clearly have not learned anything from from the mistakes made at the Leeds Road junction.


  1. Two lanes into one will cause more accidents as the outside lane always think they have right of way instead of the near side who DO have right of way Bloody stupid idea. Keep emergency services on standby!!

  2. Time to talk about scrapping the Borough and County councils and let’s get a unitary authority that works.
    Save money all round, especially on the new Borough offices, and get a council that’s focused on us.

  3. Whoever comes up with these ideas clearly doesn’t use these junctions!! Totally agree with Ian Mazza… its utter madness. Sadly we pay these people to make these decisions! I am sure if there had been a consultation exercise, most people would have said NO to this idea!

  4. The two lane turn right at Hookstone Rd onto the A61 Northbound is a prime example of a bad and probably dangerous junction. Turning south from Leadhall Lane feels scary even in large car as it is impossible to determine if it is safe to make the turn, so instead you hold back which results in all the traffic leaving Leadhall Lane being blocked. Why NYCC decided to deviate from the usual pattern of having a right-turn lane and a straight-on-or-left lane is not something I can determine. I suspect that the first serious accident at this junction will result in NYCC being on the receiving end of a court case when the defence argues that it is the junction at fault rather than a driver.

    In the past couple of weeks I’ve twice seen people heading north on the A61 stopping because they are confused by the red light that controls the turn-right traffic. Most days there is one car stranded ahead of the stop line in the turn-right lane. Once, there were two, preventing east-west traffic.

    The left turn into Leadhall Lane is difficult for the school buses going to Rossett and Asheville – I’ve seen one have to reverse back, blocking both lanes as it attempts the corner. This is lamentably bad and even a few brief consultation with bus companies would have shown how poorly laid out the entire thing is.

    Good comment above from Helen Flynn regarding lack of provision for cyclists.

    All in all, not a pattern to repeat!

  5. 3 lanes here doesn’t work quite simply, not enough room so 2 lanes is much better really, much safer and should flow lots better!

    The problem is people are not used to these types of junctions and do not know how to filter in turn, perhaps we need some signs as what I’ve seen on Leeds road with the new 2 forward lanes simply doesn’t get used by most people.

  6. I cannot see how it will be any easier on traffic flow as this is a notorious run into Harrogate up Wetherby Road. There has and always will be standing traffic queues because at the other end is Skipton Road and Knaresborough Road. This two lane traffic will be murder at Woodlands junction as there will be frustrated drivers already queuing up Wetherby Road from Sainsburys, then faced with two lanes feeding into one lane but also faced with a queue up Wetherby Road going nowhere fast. Result, bottle neck and nobody going anywhere sooner!

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