OTLEY Town Partnership is questioning to what extent the East of Otley Relief Road will reduce traffic flows in Otley.

Richard Pulleyn, Chairman of the Transport Group, said:“Otley residents have high expectations that extension of the town’s Rotary Way Bypass will relieve traffic congestion in the town centre. However, we have studied the plans released by Leeds City Council which include a traffic assessment and it is far from clear whether the Relief Road will deliver the expected traffic benefits”.

Although the East of Otley development consortium members have highlighted the benefits of the Relief Road, members of the Transport Group have a long list of questions. They are asking to what extent the relief road will reduce traffic congestion in the centre, especially during peak hours, and whether the benefit of diverting through traffic will be cancelled out by adding at least 1,000 vehicles wanting to access the centre if the proposed 550 or 700 homes are built.

A spokesman said "Plans show that the short Relief Road will include two additional roundabouts for access to the housing development and will have a 30 mph speed limit with a gradient leading up to the existing Leeds Road roundabout, so will the Relief Road be a more attractive route for traffic, especially HGVs, than the present route through Otley or Pool?"

Town Partnership Director Peter Heald, has written to the Chief Planning Officer at Leeds City Council requesting an urgent meeting with the consultants who produced the transport report and assessment.

He said:“A lengthy list of questions will be raised with the consultants as well as Planning and Highways Departments. When we have answers to our questions we will make them known to all interested residents.”

A Leeds City Council spokesman said: "The Relief Road will provide access into the proposed housing development from the east, avoiding the need to provide access from existing estate roads to the west. It will also have a relieving benefit on the centre of Otley. Traffic modelling suggests a reduction of through traffic to Otley town centre between 3% and 9% in the AM peak between 9% and 13% in the PM peak.

"Due to its proximity to Otley town centre, the proposed development will focus on and promote the infrastructure to undertake more sustainable trips into Otley i.e. walking and cycling to minimise the use of the private car. The relief road will also include provision for non-motorised users."

The spokesman added:"The gradient to the Leeds Road roundabout is a maximum of 5% within current design standards. Options for the type of junctions along the relief road were considered and in terms of safety, proposed traffic flows, and accommodation of pedestrians and non-motorised users, the preferred option was to use roundabouts."