ACCESS ROW: Startforth Park
ACCESS ROW: Startforth Park

A CONTROVERSIAL temporary entrance to a dale estate has been made permanent despite claims it is unsafe and has led to an increase in crime.

County planners ,who approved the permanent access point to Startforth Park off the A67, say there have been no accidents in the three years it has been open and police records show no spike in crime.

The entrance was re-opened in 2015 when Taylor Wimpey began building new homes on the neighbouring Grangefields estate to prevent residents sharing the original access road with construction traffic. Planning officers last month approved the application by Taylor Wimpey to have the access made permanent despite three people objecting to the move.

Resident Andrew Hinchcliffe, who campaigned against the temporary opening of the point, said: “The crime rate has gone up 500 per cent. We have lived here for 25 years and in that time there has been only two crimes I know of. In May 2018 three vans were broken into with hundreds of pounds worth of tools being taken.

“The air pollution and noise levels are now much higher with all the traffic coming along this road. It is difficult to sleep, once again because of the traffic passing all hours day and night.”

Allan Royds, who also lives on the estate, complained that people from Grangefields were using the entrance as a shortcut to their homes.

He called on the county council to do a comprehensive traffic survey of speed and frequency of traffic on the Startforth section of the A67.

Sam Turner

However, Startforth Parish Council supported the application. Planner Tim Burnham’s report said Startforth Park Residents’ Association held a survey of the 62 properties on the estate and of the 32 responses they received, 24 wanted the access to remain open and eight wanted it closed.

Mr Burnham said: “The re-opened access has been in use for a considerable amount of time and no highways safety issues are reported in relation to its interface with the A67.

“Concerns over increased crime rates are not borne out when considering recent police crime mapping data for Startforth Park.

“The survey carried out by the residents’ association, where residents who have responded have voted by a significant majority to keep the access open, is of note, as is the council’s own consultation exercise which saw all properties on Startforth Park consulted, drawing objections from only two addresses and support from the parish council.

“It is suggested that having two accesses to the site is beneficial, particularly during periods of bad winter weather with the residents association forwarding an item of correspondence in support of the application in this respect.”

He added that while traffic had increased it has not had a significant impact on residential amenity.