RESIDENTS of three Yorkshire Dales villages were left fuming today after it was revealed that a public inquiry has effectively decided they will not get their long awaited bypass.
As part of its detrunking process for the A65, the Highways Agency - the Quango responsible for Britain's network of trunk roads and motorways - applied for permission - through the use of revocation orders - to permanently ditch plans for bypasses around the villages of Gargrave, Hellifield and Long Preston.
The move was bitterly opposed by residents who live with the noise, fumes and danger posed by thousands of vehicles travelling past their homes daily. The revocation orders went to a public inquiry in February this year when villagers were joined by North Yorkshire County Council and Craven District Council in opposing the move.
The government appointed inspector today announced that there is no realistic prospect of the bypasses being built and therefore granted permission for the orders to be withdrawn.
The building of the bypasses was just months away when in 1997 the Labour Government swept to power. On coming to office, the first act of the Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, in North Yorkshire was to pull the rug from under the feet of the Dales villagers and announce that the road building programme begun by the previous Tory administration was to be ditched.
One furious Long Preston resident told Daelnet: "this is just another slap in the face for us. It's not just the traffic jams that block up our village during the summer months; we also have to put up with the noise, the fumes and the real danger that comes with having so many vehicles passing our homes."
The decision could well have an added impact for the rest of North Yorkshire's residents. With the A65 detrunked the cost of maintaining the road will pass from the Highways Agency to the county's hard pushed council tax payers.