Farmer Charles Haigh calls for speed cameras on notorious Bellstring Lane/Liley Lane blackspot
A farmer believes Kirklees Council has wasted thousands of pounds installing anti-skid surfaces on an accident blackspot country lane.
Charles Haigh, who runs Cockley Hill Farm on the notorious B6118 Bellstring Lane/Liley Lane between Kirkheaton and Grange Moor, reckons excessive speed is the problem.
There was a spate of crashes in wet conditions last year with cars and vans skidding out of control with many ploughing through stone walls and ending up in fields.
Drivers blamed a combination of the weather, a badly-worn road surface and mud from two quarries, Lane Side Quarry and Temple Quarry, and farmer’s fields.
In February the council reduced the speed limit from 40mph to 30mph on the worst bends and installed temporary traffic lights to slow drivers.
Last month a special anti-slip coating was added to the road surface aimed at increasing grip for drivers.
However Charles said speed was the major problem and the only way to stop accidents was to install speed cameras.
“For me the only way to cure it is average speed cameras like you see on the motorway,” he said. “Drivers use this stretch as a shortcut between the M62 and the M1 so you’d start it at Colne Bridge and have another at the other end.
“With ordinary speed cameras you slow down when you come up to them and speed up in between. But average speed cameras work. When you approach them on the motorway you slow down to 50mph and that’s the speed you stick to. It works.”
Charles said drivers hit speeds of up to 60mph on Bellstring Lane and were often caught out by the unusual cambers on the road.
“They have just spent a fortune on this anti-slip surfacing but it looks like a waste of money to me.”
LOOK at why Bellstring Lane is an accident blackspot below
Charles regularly has to repair his stone walls, often claiming for damage on his own insurance as the culprits cannot be traced.
Occasionally, a broken numberplate is left behind and drivers can be tracked down through the police.
Commuter Paul Jordan, 37, of Salendine Nook, who has driven the road from his home to work in Wakefield for 18 years – without mishap – agreed that speed was a problem but he was also concerned about mud on the road.
One day last week he described the “clumps” of mud he saw on the road near Lane Side Quarry at 7.30am which was still there at 6pm when he returned.
“The anti-skid surface seems to be attracting and holding the mud,” he said.
“In the past I’ve even followed one lorry that every time it changed gear the back doors came open and deposited stones and soil on the road.”
The council has issued breach of planning condition notices to both quarries and have ordered them to clean up their act.
The council claims the quarries have breached their planning permission by not keeping the road clean.
Accidents appear to have stopped with the better weather and Paul said: “We might have to wait until next winter to see if the new road surface has worked.”