Hickleton bypass: Angry residents call on Doncaster Council to honour road project promised over 30 years ago

Residents of Hickleton are urging Doncaster Council to build the planned bypass
Residents of Hickleton are urging Doncaster Council to build the planned bypass

Fed up residents in a Doncaster village are calling on the council to build a long-awaited bypass promised to them more than 30 years ago. 

Residents of Hickleton have said the failure of Doncaster Council to build the highways project, first mooted in the late 80s, has led to a huge increase in lorry crashes and congestion. 

Residents of Hickleton are urging Doncaster Council to build the planned bypass

Residents of Hickleton are urging Doncaster Council to build the planned bypass

Data supplied by Friends of the Earth show middle of the village has the worst air quality in the whole of Yorkshire. 

Documents seen by the Doncaster Free Press from the mid-1990s show the Hickleton/Marr bypass listed as one of the council’s 14 key highways infrastructure projects. 

The dated report sets out short, medium and long term plans. The Hickleton/Marr bypass towards to the A1 is listed as ‘short term’. 

The Hatfield Link road connecting to the M18 which is due to begin construction this year, is down as ‘long term’. 

Residents of Hickleton are urging Doncaster Council to build the planned bypass

Residents of Hickleton are urging Doncaster Council to build the planned bypass

Council bosses said they are still ‘looking to deliver’ the project but are looking for ways to finance the project. 

A plan was originally set out to build a road linking the M1 at Barnsley to the A1 in Doncaster in conjunction with the two councils.

Campaigners said Barnsley Council upheld their end of the bargain and made it a priority due to the increasing business growth and regeneration of the Dearne Valley. 

They said Doncaster saw ‘no economic payback’ in building the bypass. 

Richard Clark is the chair of Hickleton Bypass Action Group, and has lived in the village for 30 years. 

He said the push for a proper campaign comes in the wake of HS2 which is set to run over the A635.

The retired company director said there was a ‘big inquiry’ by Doncaster Council into building a bypass when he first moved there. 

“At that time, Doncaster were working with Barnsley and the plan was to create a road linking the M1 junction 36 to A1 at junction 37. 

“Barnsley went ahead and did their side in the Dearne Valley Parkway due its plans to regenerate the area but Doncaster decided after a massive consultation there was no economic payback for them. 

“The Dearne Valley Parkway on the Barnsley side bypasses all of the residential areas but rejoins the A635 and goes straight through Hickleton. 

“This is bad because due to the expansion of factories and warehouses in that area like Next, Aldi and ASOS, the only way huge lorries can access the A1 is by coming through Hickleton on narrow 30 mph roads.”

Mr Clark said he has kept a log of all the road traffic collisions and has counted 19 crashes in two years – including two fatalities.

Incidents include a crash in which the air ambulance had to be called, cars being written off damage to walls and bus stops. 

“For a village the size of Hickleton, the number of incidents are absolutely extraordinary – it’s something you would expect in a busy urban centre not in a village,” he said. 

“Just last week, two big lorry collided at the pinch point in the village which also caused damage to the windscreen to the car behind. Something has to give. 

“The situation here really is horrendous. 

"We've got a lot of older people in the village and one 80-year-old woman said she’s too scared to walk down the narrow footpath to the bus stop. This just demonstrates how bad it is.  

“The traffic has increased so much it’s resulted in the parish council asking DMBC to start monitoring traffic levels.”

DMBC has carried out remote roadside monitoring of levels of nitrogen dioxide since 2011 at the request of the parish council at five locations along the A635.

Due to the huge increase in traffic and high levels of nitrogen oxide, Doncaster Council designated Hickleton an ‘Air Quality Management Area’ in 2015 which obligates them to initiate pollution reduction strategies.

But since then, the levels of NOx has increased from 86µgm/m 3 to 100µgm/m 3. The UK national guidance level for NOx is 40µgm/m 3. 

Friends of the Earth published traffic pollution data from every local authority in England. It found Hickleton is the worst pollution blackspot in Yorkshire and one of the worst in England.

“Doncaster Council hasn’t done anything to really mitigate this at all. They put in place some traffic calming measures like extend the 30mph but it’s not really helping with pollution.

“This scheme has been in the local plan for decades now – it’s just words. We’ve played second fiddle to loads of schemes before they were even being talked about. 

“It’s everywhere apart from us –  partly because I think we're on the boundary with Barnsley and there is no economic activity here. We’re the forgotten village.”

Scott Cardwell, assistant director of development at Doncaster Council, said: “The Hickleton/Marr bypass is an important road scheme we are proactively looking to deliver.

“We have included it as a future scheme in the Local Plan and are continuing to seek funding for the project. It would need a new scheme in terms of route alignment due to the planned HS2 route near Hickleton and we would look to deliver it jointly with Barnsley.

“The council has previously implemented a number of road safety improvement measures along the A635 through Hickleton, including upgrades and enhancements to the general signing, road marking layouts, reflective bollards, adjustment to speed limits, improved and extended street lighting and the provision of vehicle activated driver feedback signs. 

“On-going monitoring suggests these measures have been successful in improving the warnings and guidance given to road users, and in reducing the likelihood of accidents.”