ILKLEY residents will have their say on proposals for a town-wide 20mph zone and associated road humps after voting overwhelmingly for a parish poll.

There was a packed house at the King's Hall in Ilkley - which seats over 500 - on Tuesday evening for a parish meeting to discuss Ilkley Town Council’s involvement in, and financial support for the controversial scheme.

Ilkley Gazette: A packed King's Hall in IlkleyA packed King's Hall in Ilkley (Image: Newsquest)

The meeting was triggered by Ilkley Road Safety Action Group (IRSAG) who believe Ilkley town councillors are not acknowledging the strength of public opposition to the plans.

The meeting was opened by James Stretton of IRSAG who proposed the meeting be chaired by Lawrence Stoker.

Mr Stoker outlined the purpose of the meeting saying: "There seems to be widely held opposition to a town wide 20mph zone and speed bumps.

"One of the widely expressed views seem to be that a targeted, rather than a town wide scheme is preferred."

Ilkley Gazette: The meeting was chaired by Lawrence StokerThe meeting was chaired by Lawrence Stoker (Image: Newsquest)

He then opened up the floor to residents who voiced their opinions both for and against the plans.

The first speaker said if traffic is slowed by speed bumps "higher emissions will result from people crawling along at lower speeds".

Another speaker said she would be delighted with a parish poll, whatever the result. She added: "It is the people, not a bunch of councillors, who should decide."

One Ilkley resident of 60 years said: "It is a wonderful town and the layout of the roads and streets have always been part of the attraction of the town and our children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren don't feel any danger here."

Another speaker, a retired Crown prosecutor, said: "I've seen the deaths, the hurt, and the heartache caused by selfish motorists who drive too quickly. A person hit by a car travelling at 30mph is five times more likely to be killed than a person hit by a car travelling at 20mph. Speed limits save lives."

A father-of-two speaking in favour of the measures said: "I am staggered by the negativity, we are just trying to make peoples lives safer. Slower speed limits protect vulnerable road users."

Ilkley Gazette: The meeting at the King's Hall

The 23rd person to speak was former Ilkley Town Mayor Mark Stidworthy who urged people to think carefully about a move to a parish poll, saying: "I can assure you despite what you may be told that this has been an extremely long and extremely thorough process."

The chair thanked everyone for their contributions and moved to a vote on whether a parish poll should be held. Voting by way of raising yellow cards the residents were in clear favour.

Residents were then asked what questions should be on the ballot paper. Several questions, which have to be answered either yes or no, were chosen.

Speaking after the meeting James Stretton said: "The poll must now take place within 14 to 25 working days of the meeting.

"With the Town Council divided along political lines and dysfunctional (since the Mayor continually has to use his casting vote) townspeople will at last have an opportunity to express their views.

"The £87,500 pledged to Bradford Metropolitan District Council by Ilkley Town Council is ‘ready to go’ but has not yet been sent. There is, therefore, still time for our local councillors to reflect on the strength of feeling in the town and reconsider their stance on what will doubtless be the only truly significant issue to be discussed during their term of office."

Ilkley Town Mayor Cllr Karl Milner, who was not in attendance, said: "I think the tragedy of the meeting is that the organisers know this poll can't have any effect on what will happen next.

"The orders have been sealed which means that the measures will be being built while this poll takes place.

"At a time when the number of people receiving help from food banks in Ilkley over Christmas has gone up 50 per cent this meeting has decided to spend £30,000 of your money on a pointless poll. They need to take a good look in the mirror - it is disgraceful.

"Ilkley is well aware of the views of residents who have the time to attend meetings like this. What we don't hear from is the younger demographic who have work and childcare responsibilities.

"There seems to be a generational divide on this issue and I hope this will not be the flavour of politics in this town in the future."