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Residents and parish councillors raise concerns over Carr Lane in Watton

Residents and parish councillors of Watton have expressed their concerns over the possibility of a life-threatening accident taking place on the narrow and winding Carr Lane.

The single-track road, which leads to Blue Keld and Tophill Low Nature Reserve from Church Lane, is subject to heavy traffic servicing both sites, as well as homes.

However, the nature of the road surface, which has a smattering of potholes and falls away into the grass verge, is not suited to such volumes of traffic, according to the people of Watton.

We have spoken to our ward councillors about this too, but when we have contacted ERYC directly, we were told that Carr Lane was 400th on the list of road improvements and that it was not possible to meet all demands.

Brian May

An ongoing issue for over a decade, the situation has been exacerbated in recent weeks due to HGVs regularly visiting Tophill Low as part of its renovation work.

Recently, a low loading lorry transporting a crane to be used by Yorkshire Water, which runs Tophill Low, became stuck when its trailer tyres were entrenched in the verge.

Brian May, chairman of Watton Parish Council for the last 10 years, said that the issue is progressively getting worse and that East Riding of Yorkshire Council (ERYC) stated that Carr Lane is 400th on the priority list of road repairs.

“I have been chairman for 10 years and this issue has been on the agenda that entire time,” he told the Wolds Weekly.

“There is no real structure to the road on Carr Lane which was originally built for horse and carts.

“Lorries which are right up to the edge of the road just wear away the verge and the problem is just becoming worse and worse.

Watton Parish Council chair Brian May with parish councillor Cathy Spence on Carr Lane.

“Part of the road actually slid away into the beck a few years ago and a local farmer had to erect his own signs warning of the dangers.

“A new pig farm went up near to the crossing gates which the parish council objected to on grounds of increased traffic, but it was passed anyway.

“It really needs an engineer to properly look at it and possibly reinforce the whole road, including even the installation of a kerb.

“We have spoken to our ward councillors about this too, but when we have contacted ERYC directly, we were told that Carr Lane was 400th on the list of road improvements and that it was not possible to meet all demands.

“In my view, there are only two viable alternatives – these are to either limit the size of vehicles using the road or upgrading the road so that it is suitable for HGVs.”

Angie Hatfield has lived on Carr Lane for five years and said the motorists do not respect the conditions of the road and, when walking her dogs, she often has to jump out of the way of oncoming vehicles.

“The amount of heavy traffic on Carr Lane has increased a lot recently, but the road is very narrow and not suited to such vehicles, including wide tractors.

“I appreciate that trucks must use the road, particularly to service Blue Keld, but this gradual deterioration is worsening.

“Less than six months ago, I hit a pothole and it cost me £1,000 to repair my wheel and if you were to walk along it at night and slipped into a pothole, you would have a nasty accident.

“The temporary pothole fillings aren’t doing the job either.

“The speed limit is 60mph, but that doesn’t mean to say that you have to drive that fast.

“The road is very unstable and not suited to such speeds, but a lot of drivers do not take notice of that, the worst being those who drive Yorkshire Water vans.

“We have horses and it is like dicing with death when leading them across the road and when I do my daily dog walks on Carr Lane, I often have to jump out of the way of fast moving vehicles which do not slow down.

“Either a wagon is going to tip over into one of the verges, or there is going to be a nasty accident.

“It is only a matter of time before someone is hurt but the council won’t do anything about it until there is a fatality.”

Keen cyclist John Harrison, added: “That route, around Watton Carrs, is a classic route out of Driffield which is hugely popular with cyclists.

“It’s a flat road, with lovely scenery and is also a route to Beverley without having to use the main roads.

“However, the state of the road, plus the current volume of traffic, means it is virtually impossible to cycle on, particularly in winter, as you spend most of your time avoiding vehicles by going onto the grass verge, which is often wet.

“It’s not a road I would use in poor weather or when wet as it becomes really muddy and is littered with potholes too.”

The road was reportedly last resurfaced in the mid-1980s due to its poor condition.

The repairs made were not suited to the volume of traffic seen on Carr Lane today and is said to be susceptible to falling under heavy traffic.

A spokesman for East Riding of Yorkshire Council said: “Roads like this, as they usually carry low volumes of traffic, are inspected annually, with ad-hoc visits carried out in response to issues being raised by residents or the parish council, with the aim being to keep roads safe for all users.”

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