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No breakthrough in footpath talks for Sutton Lane where 9-year-old was killed

Thursday, March 10th, 2022 4:50pm

By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter

Image: Google Maps

Talks over building a footpath on a local road where a schoolboy was killed in a hit-and-run crash have failed to produce a breakthrough.

However, works on some safety measures on Sutton Lane between Eastburn and Sutton-in-Craven could start in late spring and include new signage, lighting and traffic calming islands.

It follows the death of nine-year-old George Lewis who was killed on 17 September last year as he walked home from the local cricket club with his dad Michael.

A petition for a footpath and other safety measures on the road described as “very dangerous” was delivered to North Yorkshire County Council, but renewed attempts to purchase private land for the footpath have since proved unsuccessful.

Councillor Philip Barrett, who represents the South Craven ward, told a county council meeting today that the road has been a long-standing safety concern and while there has been no breakthrough on the footway, he was pleased to see some progress.

“This is far better than we have ever achieved before,” he said about the proposed measures.

“Clearly what was asked for in the petition was a footway – I think we have got to look at this in the longer term.

“But it is pleasing to know we can now get some safety improvements.”

North Yorkshire County Council is working with Bradford Council on the proposed measures for Sutton Lane as it crosses the border between the two council areas.

In a written update to today’s meeting, David Kirkpatrick, traffic engineering team leader at the county council, said the next steps would now involve a consultation with councillors, emergency services and local residents.

He said: “County council and Bradford Council engineers have worked together to draft and agree a proposed scheme.

“However, the proposed scheme does not include a footway as the issue of acquiring third-party land remains, though it is understood contact has been made with the respective owners.

“The proposals consist of build-outs to further reduce speed, new and improved warning signs and road markings, improved street lighting and carriageway resurfacing.

“It is expected these measures will provide a much-improved visual warning to drivers of the likely presence of pedestrians.

“On conclusion of the consultation process and the making of any design amendments, the scheme order will be placed with the respective contractors for delivery.

“It is expected that work will commence in late spring or early summer.”

After the fatal incident last September, a 49-year-old van driver fled the scene but later handed himself into police and was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.

A statement from West Yorkshire Police at the time said officers were called shortly after 9.30pm to a report of a collision on Sutton Lane near the junction with Knott Lane.

Speaking at a previous county council meeting, councillor Robert Heseltine, who represents the Skipton East ward, said the collision could have been avoided if action to improve road safety was taken sooner.

He previously said: “I remember this issue being brought to our attention on more than one previous occasion but, for whatever reason, it didn’t get progressed.

“If only we had been more keen on the subject at that time then this child wouldn’t have lost his life.

“It is little sympathy for the family that action is now being taken.”

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