A PUBLIC inquiry opened today into proposed local access roads between Scotch Corner and Barton as part of the A1 Leeming to Barton improvements.

Objections of details of the proposed roads – designed for traffic unsuitable for the motorway such as tractors and for residents to reach properties and farms at the edge of the current A1 - have come from Cyclists Touring Club and Kneeton Hall estate.

The inquiry was held at the Holiday Inn at Scotch Corner, led by independent public inquiry inspector Ian Jenkins.

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Planning lawyer Martin Carter, on behalf of the Highways Agency, said the proposed minor routes are necessary in the upgrade to the A1 trunk road.

He said: “The current routes through nearby villages are not suitable for lots of traffic or large vehicles. Around 50,000 to 60,000 vehicles use the A1 per day and there is higher than average HGV usage for a trunk road.”

Chartered surveyor William Slavin spoke on behalf of WG Baker-Baker, freeholders of the Sedbury Estate, including Kneeton Hall Farm.

Mr Slavin said his client’s main concern was that a bridge, the sole means of access to the farm, is currently used by vehicles transporting stone extracted at Kneeton Quarry to the processing plant at Barton.

He said his client wishes to reclaim the track for the sole use of those wishing to access the farm and have a separate route for quarry vehicles.

John Sugden, a retired civil engineer speaking on behalf of the Cyclists Touring Club, outlined a further proposal which would create an extra roundabout in an attempt to slow traffic on the access road.

He said: “The CTC supports the provision of an access road for local traffic.

“Motorways should benefit cyclists by removing traffic from access roads but CTC believes the access road will still be used more than it should be.”

He said cars could still move at speed along the access road and traffic should be encouraged to use the motorway to keep minor roads safe for cyclists.

The Highways Agency intends to upgrade the A1 between Leeming and Barton to a three-lane motorway, improving journey times and increasing safety, as well as creating the alternative route for local traffic.

The proposed route of the new local access road is between Scotch Corner and Barton, including modifications to the junction between Kneeton Lane and Silver Street.

The inquiry is due to continue until Monday.