A controversial and divisive scheme to implement a 20mph speed limit on the streets of Ilkley WILL go ahead, Bradford Council announced today.

The proposals have polarised the town, with some residents welcoming the plans as a method to reduce accidents on the roads, while many others have been vociferously against the scheme.

There will also be traffic calming measures in the form of “road cushions” to slow down traffic, but following a public consultation the authority has decided to vastly reduce the number of these.

Instead of the proposed 120 locations that were earmarked for road cushions, the council said there will now be 58, mostly on roads near to schools.

A statement from Bradford Highways department was read out at a meeting of Ilkley Town Council last night confirming Bradford Council was proceeding with the scheme.

It said: “I write to formally notify you that the council has placed the responses to the advertised Ilkley 20mph Zone and associated Hump Order through the governance process. The objections have been considered and overruled. I now have a mandate to proceed with the process of delivering the new, post-advertised scheme for Ilkley.”

The letter added that physical speed restrictions were necessary on top of the speed limit being lowered because “West Yorkshire Police have categorically said they would not support a sign only proposal where speed thresholds are exceeded. Hard engineering, self-enforcement measures are required at these locations”.

Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, Planning and Transport said today: “I understand the strength of feeling some people in Ilkley have over these proposals, particularly around traffic calming.

“We’ve listened, and throughout the development of the scheme the amount of traffic calming has been reduced by 50% - half the amount that was originally put forward.

“I’m confident these final proposals are right for Ilkley and will continue our successful district-wide strategy of rolling out 20mph zones in and around our urban centres, having already delivered similar successful schemes in Shipley and the city centre. The traffic calming now focuses primarily on the fastest roads and those around our schools and nurseries, which a lot of the feedback asked us to do.

“The whole point of public consultation is to identify issues and find a workable compromise that addresses any concerns without losing sight of the core purpose of the scheme. 20 mph zones are important to reduce average speeds, improve road safety and create a better environment for residents, pedestrians and cyclists.

“Creating a culture where people drive more slowly when they are in our town and city centres and around schools is the right thing to do and I look forward to the successful implementation of this scheme.”

Ilkley Gazette: Hundreds packed a meeting at the Clarke Foley Centre in Ilkley to discuss the 20mph zoneHundreds packed a meeting at the Clarke Foley Centre in Ilkley to discuss the 20mph zone (Image: submitted)

Ilkley Town Council has provided an element of match funding with the Highways Agreement signed in October 2022 meaning it was possible to expand the zone to cover a wider area, including Ben Rhydding.

Installation is expected to begin in October with the scheme live before the end of the year.

Bradford Council is re-advertising some of the streets that will be subject to the 20mph zone because of what it calls “a minor technical clerical error” that saw 22 of the streets which will fall under the order being missed off the order that has been made. They say that this “does not prejudice any decisions that have been made to date”.

However, any objections to the new orders that are being advertised imminently “have to be unique and not replicated from the previous advertised order”, said the council.

The zone in Ilkley is the latest in Bradford Council’s 20mph zone programme, which has already been implemented on streets in Shipley and Bradford city centre. As well as focusing on urban centres, other 20mph zones have been delivered around schools in wards across the district including City, Manningham, Toller, Keighley Central and Great Horton.

The council’s rationale for introducing lower speed limits is that “20mph zones improve local safety and the local environment, they also promote active travel alternatives such as walking and cycling. A growing number of local authorities across the UK have introduced 20mph speed limits in residential areas and urban centres”.

More information about the final scheme can be found at Bradford Council - Decision - Ilkley 20mph Zone Objections (moderngov.co.uk)