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Row breaks out over Derwenthorpe roads
CITY leaders have been criticised over claims they took a decision on road plans for one of the biggest developments in York’s history “behind closed doors”.
The Liberal Democrat group on City of York Council said residents had been left out of the loop over the results of a public consultation on traffic flows and parking measures on Temple Avenue, close to the 540-home Derwenthorpe “model village” site.
The party said the issue was due to be discussed by the authority’s Derwenthorpe Partnership transport sub-committee last week, but those attending were told the ruling Labour group had already made a decision over the Temple Avenue access route, which will provide access to 125 homes within the development.
Labour said residents and local councillors were able to air their views through the consultation exercise and this had meant the access scheme being tweaked.
The Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust project is being divided into four neighbourhoods, with traffic prevented from moving from one to another and access proposed from Temple Avenue, Fifth Avenue, Osbaldwick Village and Meadlands.
Coun Nigel Ayre , who represents Heworth Without for the Lib Dems and chairs the transport sub-committee, said: “The meeting should have given councillors and the public a proper opportunity to analyse the plans, but instead we found Labour had already taken the decision behind closed doors.
“This meant proper representation to the cabinet member in question, Coun Dave Merrett , could not be made and residents were left totally in the dark as to what the plans will actually mean. It is yet another example of Labour taking decisions away from the glare of public accountability.”
Coun Ayre said the decision could not be “called in” for more scrutiny as it was not regarded as a “key” issue, but he would now ask for this status to be changed.
The Temple Avenue scheme will mean its layout, as well as that of Ingleborough Avenue and Lang Avenue, being altered, new traffic-calming measures and junction changes.
Coun Merrett, cabinet member for transport, planning and sustainability, said: “The proposals I agreed had already been consulted on with local residents and councillors, who were given the opportunity to have their input. A number of amendments had been recommended in light of residents’ comments, which I was pleased to agree to, so I’ve no idea why Coun Ayre is attempting to mislead the public.”
Hull Road councillor Neil Barnes said he and his fellow ward member, Coun Fiona Fitzpatrick, had received no objections to the traffic proposals and they would “improve the safety of residents in the area” and be “considerate to the environment”.