A COUNCILLOR has called on the chief executive of North Yorkshire County Council to put Upper Dales residents’ minds at rest and provide details on the plans for a major roadwork scheme.

Residents of Swaledale have been waiting for a traffic management plan to outline how they will be affected by a 12-week closure of the B1267 Reeth to Richmond road – due to start in March – but despite several meetings they are still in the dark.

Councillor John Blackie last month asked North Yorkshire County Council Highways manager Nigel Smith when the plan would be ready, and if there were proposals to make alternative routes available through enhanced gritting treatment, and if there would a traffic light system on the Grinton road.

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Mr Smith was unable to answer his questions – and one month later Coun Blackie has written to Richard Flinton, chief executive of the council, asking him to step in.

Hours after sending the letter he was sent notification of preliminary works to take place in February – but still nothing on the main road closure.

Coun Blackie said: “We are still no further forward in hearing the answers to the questions I raised at last month’s Richmondshire Area Committee meeting.

“Worse still I have received a number of emails and telephone calls advising me that signs have been erected advertising a road closure of the road between Reeth and Richmond near Marske Bridge for three weeks at the beginning of February.

“But we were advised only a two week closure of this area and promised consultation - what consultation has taken place?

“None with me as the local county councillor, none with Coun Malcolm Gardner, as the local Richmondshire District Councillor, none with local councils representing at grass roots community level those most affected by the road closures, and none directly with local people.”

He added: “It beggars belief that the grand traffic management plan is still not available, as we are only six weeks from the day the 12 week road closure is scheduled to begin.

“I know there will be a small number from Swaledale and Arkengarthdale incredibly worried as to how they can reach the James Cook Hospital (in Middlesbrough) on a daily basis for specialist treatment while the road between Reeth and Richmond is closed, particularly if there are significant snowfalls.”

North Yorkshire County Council Highways office in Richmond has acknowledged receipt of Coun Blackie’s letter.