New estate traffic chaos fears

Scene setter of the old allotments / fields between Pontefract Road and Post Office Road in Featherstone - there are plans for 450 homes there.
Scene setter of the old allotments / fields between Pontefract Road and Post Office Road in Featherstone - there are plans for 450 homes there.

CONCERNED residents say plans for hundreds of new homes on land next to one of Featherstone’s busiest roads could cause traffic chaos in the town.

Developers Taylor Wimpey will apply to Wakefield Council this month for planning permission to build up to 450 houses on land between Pontefract Road and Post Office Road.

The proposals request approval for an initial development of 150 homes ranging from ranging from two bed bungalows to four bedroom family homes, as well as a new access road and pedestrian crossing opposite The Junction pub on Pontefract Road.

Janice Tolson, who lives on Ackworth Road opposite the proposed junction, said: “There’s enough traffic on that road already, so I hate to think what it’s going to be like with all those extra houses.

“Pontefract Road is a busy main road and we’ve already tried to get heavy traffic diverted from it. We really need a bypass for 
Featherstone.”

Peter Malpass, whose home on Pontefract Road is just yards from the proposed junction, said he felt there had been a lack of 
consultation.

He added: “Residents are not very happy about this at all. The traffic is bad enough as it is and this will just make it worse.”

Featherstone Coun Graham Isherwood, said: “I welcome regeneration but my major concern is the traffic. It’s not too bad when children are on school holidays, but when they’re at school Pontefract Road is a car park.

“There are three major pinch points in that area – at Ackworth Road, by the Junction Pub and the Travellers’ Rest. We’re in danger of having a bottleneck and nothing I’ve heard so far from the developers has allayed my fears.”

A spokesman for Taylor Wimpey said the company had held a number of public events including one last month at Featherstone’s Chesney’s Centre. He added that if the application was approved, construction was likely to start early next year.

Ian Thomson, Wakefield Council service director for planning, transportation and highways, said: “The land north of Pontefract Road has been identified in the council’s Local Development Framework document as suitable for housing development with access to be provided from a new junction on Pontefract Road. The document has been subject to several stages of public consultation and found sound after an independent examination by a government planning inspector.

“The council has not yet received a formal planning application. Once received, this will be assessed in detail and processed through the normal council procedure with opportunity for the public to express their views before any decision is made.”