County council attempts to reassure residents over Swaledale road closure

Darlington and Stockton Times: Reeth Road subsidence Reeth Road subsidence

A COUNTY council has attempted to reassure residents of Swaledale they will not be marooned during a 12-week road closure next year – but has angered locals after describing their fears as “alarmist”.

North Yorkshire County Council is organising a £1 million programme of works to deal with a number of landslips along the B6270 and A6108 between Richmond and Reeth during late winter.

A recent meeting in Arkengarthdale was attended by almost 150 residents, including doctors and teachers who were concerned that work starting in late February and early March would coincide with the period when it is most likely to snow.

The council has assured residents that where higher-ground diversionary routes are necessary work will not begin until March 3 – and said alternative routes will receive the same level of routine maintenance repairs and winter salting and ploughing as the road which will be closed.

County Councillor Gareth Dadd, executive member for highways, said: “There has been a considerable amount of anxiety generated in the area by some unsubstantiated and frankly alarmist remarks in the past few weeks.

“It is the view of the professional engineers in our highways department that arrangements and timetable we are putting in place will ensure access to this part of Swaledale will be maintained throughout the repair work.”

All emergency services have now said the level of cover in the Dale will not be affected.

County councillor John Blackie said he was disgusted that residents’ fears had been dismissed as alarmist.

He said: “The county council has been stung by the justified criticism of Swaledale residents and has gone some way to improve the plans in moving the dates forward to early March.

“But it has not gone far enough. To say the higher-ground diversion route will be given priority one treatment is not good enough when there was 10 feet of snow up there in March this year.”

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