Shaw Mills is around 7-miles out of Harrogate, just off the main route between Ripley and Pateley Bridge.
Two of the main approaches to the village are down inclines towards the village, Pye lane and Mill Bank. In the middle of the village there is a bend over a stream that tightens to single-file traffic.
For the last few months, the Parish Council has been lobbying North Yorkshire County Council to install traffic-calming measures, but so far without success.
Parish Councillor, Martin Tither said:
Anyone who walks through Shaw Mills knows how hazardous the road is. The village is approached by 2 steep hills, which encourage traffic to come through at speed.
There are then tight bends with a narrow bridge and no footway.
We have had a site visit with the police who agree that the situation is dangerous, not just to motorists but particularly for walkers and cyclists.
We have all seen close calls on the bridge and residents trying to get out of their drives get abused because other road users, including cyclists, have been going too fast to avoid them.
NYCC have said that there is no need for Highways action on their part.
Their decision is based on a highways officer driving through the village 4 times, in winter, during lockdown.
Martin Tither said:
Obviously, this is ridiculous, hardly a typical time. Using volunteers from the village we shall be taking a daylight traffic count over 2 days to get a real picture. We shall not only count the number and type of traffic, we shall also be noting positioning on the road together with near misses and dangerous incidents.
Armed with those figures, we shall be going back to NYCC and calling on them to act upon residents’ wishes. We don’t want much, a couple of roadside signs, maybe renew the white lines which have worn off.
We simply want people to be able to come through our village in safety.
Melisa Burnham, Highways Area Manager, said:
Work has been ongoing with observations completed by our engineers at different times to assess the number of pedestrians and cyclists on the carriageway during each visit.
The results of these observations showed that at this time the road through Shaw Mills does not meet the requirements for the installation of ‘pedestrians in road’ signs.
However, we have identified a need to install ‘slow down’ signs at each end of the bridge to encourage drivers to slow down as they cross it. We will continue to work with the parish council regarding their ongoing concerns about pedestrian safety.
The Parish Council are undertaking out a survey to evidence the large numbers of ‘traffic’ (including pedestrians) that use the village.
They also wish to evidence the frequency with which traffic is in the middle or wrong side of the road, often with good reason; to avoid other road users, and to count the number of near-misses or abusive incidents over a period of time.
Pannal tackled excess speed in the village by setting up a community speed watch.
That’s a scheme setup by the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, and equips members of the public with speed guns and reporting route to North Yorkshire Police. The police then send out warning letters and will do home visits of offenders.
Shaw Mills are now looking at this scheme for their village, although it doesn’t for cyclists.
The geography of the village poses a hazard:
- From both Pye Lane and Mill Bank, the village is entered down a steep hill. This is particularly hazardous when cyclists following the ‘Tour de Yorkshire’ route, come down the hills, often 2 or 3 abreast, in the middle of or on the wrong side of the road, to meet blind bends which are not sign posted.
- There are sharp bends at the bottom of Pye lane, both sides of the bridge and at the top of Sunny Bank.
- The footpaths are very limited, particularly in the most bending parts of the road. Where there are footpaths, cars often have to park partly on them as many houses have no parking. The hedges in this area greatly limit visibility,
- The area is popular with walkers, because it is very close to the Nidderdale Way and these people, often with dogs, are not familiar with the road’s dangers and walk in the road.
- A historic sign warning of the curving nature of the road was broken by a hedge-cutter many years ago and removed. It has not been replaced.