Keighley carriageway plan is hit by referendum doubt

Plans to transform a traffic-choked Keighley main road into a dual carriageway could hit a dead end.

A new threat has arisen to the Hard Ings Road project, which is among a package of measures already given funding approval by county transport chiefs, as part of a planned £1 billion investment across West Yorkshire.

Labour politicians are warning new laws forcing local authorities to hold referendums if they want to increase their council tax by more than two per cent could scupper the schemes.

Bradford Council leader Councillor David Green said the Government had already agreed to the idea of a transport fund precept, and he accused it of moving the goalposts.

He added: “There are no plans to increase council tax in Bradford by more than two per cent – including the precept – so there is no imminent danger of a referendum, but it would only take one district to hold and lose a referendum to threaten the whole project.

“This lack of long-term certainty could drive away investment in the region.”

The £1 billion investment is expected to create about 20,000 jobs, as well as a host of road and rail improvements, but would see a small levy added to people’s council tax bills.

Local Government Minister Brandon Lewis said the West Yorkshire transport plan would only raise bills by up to 0.9 per cent, and if councils kept their own tax hikes down, it could still go ahead.

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