A FORMER landscape architect has unveiled plans for a subway linking Silsden and Steeton under the busy A629 Aire Valley Road.

Paul Redshaw’s proposal involves digging diagonally under the roundabout rather than simply going under a straight section of road.

He says his 86-metre concrete underpass – an alternative to a much-suggested footbridge – would enable pedestrians to avoid the dangers of crossing four lanes of speeding traffic.

The council this week confirmed Mr Redshaw’s proposal would be considered as part of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s £700,000 feasibility study into a safe crossing for the A629.

Mr Redshaw, of Silsden, has sent his plan to local councillors for comments, and Craven ward councillor Rebecca Whitaker forwarded it to Bradford Council. Pedestrians approaching the roundabout from Silsden would use a new footpath on the right-hand side of Keighley Road to reach the tunnel, and on the Steeton side they would connect with the existing footpath to the Leeds-bound platform of the Silsden-Steeton railway station.

Former landscape architect and environmental consultant Mr Redshaw is no stranger to major projects, after spearheading the design of an offshore wind farm in Liverpool Bay and being lauded for his flood alleviation expertise.

He said: “An underpass is the safest and better option. It resolves all the issues. The simplest solutions are often the best.

“An underpass is more direct, easy for all types of users including prams and wheelchairs, and has virtually no visual impact. The potential for it to flood can be designed out or mitigated, and even if it were to flood, that would only be for a day or so.”

“I don’t believe that a bridge is the answer because the ground levels to connect to either side are not suitable. A bridge is a particularly ugly structure and difficult to maintain and utilise.”

A Bradford Council spokesman said the feasibility study would look into a range of options before recommending a preferred solution, including traffic light crossings, a foot and cycle bridge, or a subway.

He said: “Each will be carefully assessed on cost, complexity, anticipated levels of use and aesthetics.

“The council is aware of the subway option developed by a local resident and this will be given to the consultants for consideration.”

Cllr Whitaker said: “Mr Redshaw’s plan is not without merit, and should be considered. The issue is a balance between an unsightly bridge and an underpass with problems like flooding, personal dangers and anti-social behaviour like graffiti. Pedestrian safety is paramount.”