MULTI million pound plans to build a dual carriageway between Bradford and Shipley has been criticised by Shipley Labour party in a new report.

The Bradford to Shipley Route Improvement Scheme will see millions spent on transforming two routes between the town and the city centre.

Created by Bradford Council in partnership with West Yorkshire Combined Authority, Canal Road will be widened to become four lanes, with a renaturalised Bradford Beck running alongside stretches of it.

Manningham Lane will become a two lane route, with a segregated cycleway, more vegetation and improved pedestrian facilities. Much of the road would also become a 20mph zone.

The Council says the plan would see reduced congestion, improved journey times, improved air quality and reduced road casualties within the area.

But, writing in a new report, the Shipley Labour Party claimed there is is no guarantee that the dual carriageway between Bradford and Shipley will bring the benefits it promises.

The party welcomes the ‘greening’ of Manningham Lane and its aim to decongest the Canal Road/Valley Road route but felt “the information about the scheme does not address the danger of increased rather than decreased congestion”.

It sees other dangers of “increased pollution including to school children affecting the rest of their lives, breaking the commitment to improved air quality, and the scheme is not part of a wider response to the climate emergency.”

A meeting open to all members has called for “a broad umbrella organisation of interested parties to engage with the project.”

Ludi Simpson, one of the authors of the report, said “There has been no public release of evidence about future traffic, air quality or noise under the scheme. There appears to be no plan to release such evidence as part of consultation for the scheme.

“In Shipley itself, the great concern is that a dual carriageway will lead to more traffic arriving in Shipley which is already a bottleneck. Two schools are situated on roads that are already so busy that parents have complained about the impact on their children’s health and safety.”

While Councillor Vick Jenkins (Labour, Shipley) said: “The report has been well-researched and was approved by members without any reservations. The scheme does not guarantee benefits outside Shipley. This really does need to be examined carefully. Local groups including Clean Air Bradford and Friends of the Earth have been expressing strong reservations for some time already.”

£48m has been reserved for the scheme, which will also serve new housing planned for Bolton Woods, and is within Bradford’s Clean Air Zone due to begin in 2022.

The scheme was reported to have gained 64 per cent approval from the public in 2019.

However, Labour in Shipley say that dual carriageway was not mentioned in the consultation survey, and that support was for shorter journey times at peak hours, not an overall increase in traffic.

In response to the report, a spokesperson for Bradford Council said: “The Bradford Shipley Route Improvement scheme is currently in development.

“The consultation undertaken so far made it clear that the options for improving Canal Road included widening the road to two lanes in each direction to reduce congestion.

“The feedback showed strong support for reduced congestion, improved journey times, improved air quality and reduced road casualties within the area.

“The ongoing development of the scheme uses a strategic transport model that measures the impact on congestion amongst others benefits in future years to meet the scheme’s objectives including the impact it has on the local area.

“Preliminary modelling studies suggest a range of options which could deliver these benefits.

“More detailed traffic modelling is underway and the results of this will be made available for everyone to see and comment on in further consultations.

“We have been clear that the scheme will be part of the wider Clean Air Zone which is designed to ensure air quality levels improve and are within legal limits.

“There will be plenty of opportunity for people to scrutinise each phase of the proposals and we will listen carefully to all comments and views.”