Town centre gas works chaos

Seamer Road gas leak.'Road closed near junction with Queen Margaret's Road.'120627a. Picture Kevin Allen.'07/02/12.
Seamer Road gas leak.'Road closed near junction with Queen Margaret's Road.'120627a. Picture Kevin Allen.'07/02/12.

PART of Cleckheaton town centre could be closed to traffic for months due to essential gas works.

A section of the gas pipeline that runs underneath Westgate needs to be replaced with a plastic pipe, which would require the road to be closed for a considerable period of time. Crown Street and Cross Crown Street are also thought to be affected.

Kirklees Council want to avoid a full closure of the roads and has already pushed the plans back twice.

The plan was revealed during this month’s Spen Valley Area Committee by the council’s highways network project officer Philip Hirstle.

He said: “What is proposed is the full closure of part of the town centre sometime during 2013 or 2014. This should have been done five years ago.”

Northern Gas Networks, which manage the pipelines, said it was ‘too early’ to go into further detail about the plans.

A spokesman said: “We are still in the early planning stages of this gas mains replacement project. It is simply too early to provide details of any timetable or streets likely to be affected.

“We will, or course, fully engage with local residents and traders, once our plans have been developed to a suitable degree.

“We are committed to working closely with local people and the local authority as this scheme develops.”

Coun Andrew Pinnock, who chaired the meeting, said afterwards: “I’m very concerned about what they need to do. It’s a bit disturbing even if they cannot give us a concrete date.”

Spenborough Chamber of Trade president Viv Layock said traders understood the work had to go ahead, but were also concerned about a total closure of Westgate.

She said: “What we don’t want is the whole town centre to be closed. As long as they can keep the traffic coming through, it would show that the town centre is not completely shut off. They need to look at how they can put diversions in place for non-town centre traffic.”