UPDATE ON HARP PROJECT
On 24 March 2021, the Chair and Vice-Chair of West Bradford Parish Council met with representatives of United Utilities to be briefed on progress of the Haweswater Aqueduct Resilience Programme (HARP). This virtual meeting was the second update in what is hoped to be a regular series providing updates to local residents.
The 6 year project remains on schedule to commence in 2023, with the village likely to be most impacted by development activity around August 2024. HARP staff confirmed that - since the previous briefing in January – they had progressed a number of important exercises which would inform future planning applications, including a feasibility study for the proposed new crossing of the River Ribble near Bradford Bridge; an Environmental Impact Assessment; and other scoping work. This research had suggested that local traffic flow would increase by a projected 4.3% on average as a result of the HARP project, although there would be peaks and troughs coinciding with construction needs. The parish councillors felt that this figure only strengthened the need for the temporary river crossing to receive approval and be implemented (thereby keeping construction traffic out of the village), a view which they strongly expressed during the meeting.
Members pointed out the high numbers of cars which had been parked on West Bradford Road (between Castle Cement and the river) during the pandemic, a trend which HARP staff should be aware of when planning access for any new river crossing.
As part of the general discussion, members raised a number of issues which they considered to be of local importance, including:
- the need for United Utilities to provide a local compensation scheme should the impact of increased traffic flow on the village become disproportionate;
- ensuring public safety at both ends of any new road across the Ribble;
- the importance of addressing the concerns of those particularly affected, eg farmers (across whose land the temporary road would pass) and walkers (whose ability to navigate existing footpaths should be preserved); and
- the importance of maximising benefits to the local economy / opening up employment opportunities wherever practicable.
It was helpful to hear the HARP team confirm that, at the insistence of Lancashire County Council as Highways Authority, any impact on road surfaces would need to be made good by the conclusion of the project.
In terms of next steps, it is anticipated that the first of what may be several planning applications will be submitted to Ribble Valley Borough Council in June 2021; this will be preceded by an online public exhibition. The Parish Council will circulate further details (including how to comment during any consultation process) as these become known.
If any further information or clarification is required, please contact the Clerk on email@example.com.