Get in touch: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting YORK to 80360 or send an email»
Fresh row over Clifton Green junction change
9:00am Thursday 12th April 2012 in News
YORK’S council leader has been accused of not trusting his transport spokesman over a controversial road change in the city.
Changes to the lay-out of Water End at Clifton Green were due to be addressed by Dave Merrett, City of York Council’s cabinet member for city strategy, at a meeting in March, but the issue was moved to a meeting of the full council cabinet this month instead, said Conservative opposition leader Ian Gillies.
He called the move “very strange” but council leader James Alexander defended it, and accused Coun Gillies of “opposition for opposition’s sake”.
He said Labour had pledged in its manifesto last year to reinstate the left-turn lane that had been removed from the junction three years ago, and said the Tories were now “scraping the barrel”.
There has been long-running controversy over the changes at the junction, which took place in 2009. The left-hand filter lane was removed to make way for a cycle lane, but motorists were unhappy with the change, and residents in Westminster Road and The Avenue said it had encouraged drivers to use those streets as a rat-run.
Last week, the Labour cabinet voted to reinstate the left-hand lane, but Coun Gillies has now questioned the way in which that decision was made and, as reported in The Press on Saturday, Lib Dem and Green councillors have also formally challenged it.
Coun Gillies said: “The Labour Leader needs to explain why he did not trust his cabinet member to take the decision on the Clifton Green scheme. The decision was scheduled for March 8 by Coun Merritt, but that was altered to a full cabinet decision in April.
“If it was a manifesto pledge why bother to consult over the past ten months. However having consulted and not being given the support for change by the consultee’s or the emergency services the meeting was switched to a full cabinet decision. Very strange – but yet another example of not listening or having faith in his cabinet.”
Coun Alexander said Tory councillor Joe Watt had resigned as cycling champion over the original removal of the left-turn lane, suggesting the Tories supported its retention. He accused the Tories of now abandoning their policies.
He said Coun Gillies’ comments were “scraping the barrel” and said any cabinet member could bring an issue before the full cabinet.
He said: “This issue has raised a lot of views city-wide and it was important to be discussed by the cabinet in a public meeting, so I am not sure why the Conservatives think this is wrong.”
The reintroduction of the car lane will cost £12,000. Labour say it will help to ease congestion and prevent traffic choking nearby streets.