The residents of Kensington Court on Hyde Park Road are up in arms about a toucan crossing that Highways propose constructing at the junction of Hyde Park Road and Brudenell Road. Residents only learnt about the proposal when construction work began shortly before Christmas. Concerned that he and his neighbours would be disturbed by beeping from the crossing, one of the residents contacted his ward councillor, who then secured a halt to the work. Residents are angry that Highways should be proceeding with a scheme which will have such a negative impact on their quality of life without even consulting them. Ward councillor Gerry Harper has also expressed concern that such a major scheme should have been given the go-ahead without ward councillors knowing anything about it. Nor were any of the local community groups consulted. Given that there has been no consultation whatsoever, it came as quite a shock to local residents when just before Christmas they read paragraph 3.2.1 of a report presented by Highways to Leeds City Council’s Executive Board dated 14 October 2009. In it, Highways claimed:
Initial consultation on the project proposals was undertaken during June 2009. Ward members and community groups were informed by letter which included the project leaflet and links to more detailed plans placed on the internet.
On the strength of this report, Highways were given approval to proceed with the scheme and awarded £1.5 million.
Highways intend that the toucan crossing will link the proposed Route 5 cycle track from Cookridge to the city centre to the existing section of cycle track on Woodhouse Moor. The purpose of Route 5 is to divert across Woodhouse Moor, all the cyclists who currently use the A660. According to figures contained in a Leeds Cycling Action Group cycle audit, this would mean that between 7.30 and 9.30am, there would be a cyclist using the toucan crossing every 30 seconds.
So if the scheme goes ahead, the residents of Kensington Court will have to wave goodbye to the prospect of ever again having a late lie-in. And that will be the least of their problems.