A PUBLIC meeting is to take place tonight (Wednesday) following concerns raised by local people about the increasing traffic congestion in Norton and Malton.

Norton & Malton Local Traffic Congestion Group has been set up by residents in a bid to voice their frustration at changes to the road systems in the two towns.

Luke Postlethwaite, one of the group's founding members, said: "The meeting is about sharing ideas and solutions and finding a way to implement those we all agree might have a chance to be effective.

"We also want to find people who want to be involved as much as they can be and what they can do to help, but mostly I hope it will be a great show of community to let the local authorities know that we aren't prepared to be pushed around anymore.

"It's transparency we want, to create solutions for the funding available. I'm sure if there was a couple of spare billion we could sort things out relativity quickly but that just isn't the case, so we will have to work with what we have."

The meeting comes as it was announced that plans for an experimental one-way restriction in St Nicholas Street in Norton to tackle traffic congestion will not go ahead at present. Instead, a traffic exercise will take place and options from that will be presented to the public early next year.

David Bowe, North Yorkshire County Council’s corporate director for business and environmental services, said: “Traffic congestion in Norton is a frustration for residents and road users alike. In the past, alterations to junction layouts by the county council have proved controversial and some local residents feel those changes have resulted in additional ‘rat running’ along residential streets.

“In an effort to address such issues, the county council recently wrote to residents of the street and side roads, suggesting the introduction of an experimental one-way restriction. We have received significant feedback against the suggestion from a variety of sources and on that basis, we will not be progressing the proposal at this point in time.

“We are nearing the completion of a micro-simulation model which will enable the road networks in Norton and Malton to be replicated and accurately modelled under various scenarios.

"The model will be operational in February and hopefully before the end of March we will be able to come back to the public with the conclusions from that modelling and what options may be practicable to take forward. These micro-simulations would include proposals such as the St Nicholas Street suggestion.’’

Cllr Keane Duncan, who represents Norton, said: “The only real answer to the problems in St Nicholas Street, and elsewhere, is to find a solution at the level crossing junction that works for all of Norton and Malton.

“We urgently need to find a fair arrangement whereby everyone, no matter where they happen to live, can easily travel around town.

"A mini roundabout, traffic lights and a one-way system are all under active consideration by our highway engineers."

Norton and District Councillor Di Keal said: "We need the original priorities to be restored – or possibly a mini roundabout created – at the junction with the level crossing and Church Street to bring an end to the misery being inflicted on a whole neighbourhood as a result of motorists determined to save a few minutes.

“The decision also overlooks the fact that had the proposal gone ahead there would be less traffic coming from Welham Road, which in turn would have made turning right out of Church Street easier and quicker.

“This does affect my home and my family – but this has never been just about us – our whole neighbourhood is being impacted.

"I would be fighting for local residents whether we lived here or not, because the current situation is wholly wrong. Something has to change – and quickly.”

The meeting of Norton & Malton Local Traffic Congestion Group will take place at Ryedale Community Leisure Centre at 7pm.