CAMPAIGNERS claim recent traffic chaos caused on the A59 near York when a lorry overturned and roadworks took place is just a taste of the problems motorists would experience if a massive new settlement is built.

The Keep The Hammertons Green Action Group was calling for a public hearing to debate the options on where a 3,000-home new village should be sited within Harrogate Borough Council’s Local Plan.

The residents’ group is fighting proposals to build it near Green Hammerton, Kirk Hammerton, Cattal and Whixley, as the council wishes, and claims a better site would be a disused golf course near the A1 and Flaxby.

Co-chair Chris Eaton spoke out yesterday about the impact on traffic if the Hammerton scheme goes ahead and the A59 is diverted to allow for it to be built.

He said roadworks at Kirk Hammerton had recently caused huge tailbacks and delays between the A1 and York, giving insight into the disruption that re-routing would cause.

“This stretch of road is notoriously sensitive to any type of disruption and this was compounded earlier this month when an overturned lorry near Kirk Hammerton caused delays of more than six hours,” he said.

“If the road faced years of disruption to be rerouted, it would cause thousands of hours of delays for people driving in and out of York and untold traffic misery.”

He also said that Nigel Adams, former Conservative MP for Selby and Ainsty who is currently seeking re-election, had backed the group’s calls for an opportunity to debate Harrogate’s new settlement options in a public hearing session, where each potential site could be directly compared.

He said Mr Adams had written directly to the Government Inspector tasked with scrutinising Harrogate Borough Council’s draft Local Plan, raising several concerns, including whether the council’s site selection process was rigorous and used the most appropriate evaluation criteria that was consistent and transparent.

He revealed that Mr Adams also wrote to Housing Minister Kit Malthouse in June to raise concerns about the integrity of the site selection process. He said the council consultation closed in September after more than 900 residents objected to the current plan. “We’re now awaiting the inspector’s report,” he added.