Call for review made over which Norfolk roads are suitable for lorries
- Credit: Archant
A call has been made for transport bosses to carry out a review of how roads are used around Norfolk - to stop noisy lorries from heading through the county's villages.
The county's roads are covered by what is known as a route hierarchy, which is supposed to discourage vehicles, such as HGVs, from heading down certain roads.
But, with the route hierarchy established in the 1980s at a cost of more than £10m and last reviewed in the early 2000s, there are concerns the county's route hierarchy is outdated and needs to be reviewed.
Elizabeth Truss, Conservative MP for South West Norfolk, plans to take a delegation from East Harling to County Hall to urge a rethink.
She said: 'This is an issue affecting not just south-west Norfolk but the county as a whole. The ability of the local roads to cope with today's movements of HGVs travelling through villages must be looked at.
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'It is extremely dangerous and worrying to witness the big lorries having to mount pavements in order to navigate their way past other vehicles or pedestrians.'
The council's overview and scrutiny panel decided in 2009, when County Hall was in the control of the Conservatives, that a fresh review was not needed.
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The council said such a review was possible, but would be costly and would be competing for funding at a time when the authority's finances are under pressure. It said it would also take many months to complete.
A spokeswoman added: 'The council is always listening to concerns of residents and businesses with regard to use of the network. The route hierarchy successfully manages to encourage the heaviest traffic flows, particularly goods vehicles, on to the most appropriate routes with the use of signage.'
Case study: Knapton
Lucy Wade, 31, from The Street in Knapton, near North Walsham, is concerned about the amount and speed of articulated sugar beet lorries travelling through the narrow village.
She said recent fatal crashes in Glasgow and Bath highlighted the potential risks of heavy vehicles travelling through residential areas.
Miss Wade, a mother of two, said: 'The issue needs to be raised and recognised. No one steps back and thinks of the wider impact of what happens if something goes wrong with a lorry. In Knapton, the lorries are an accident waiting to happen.'
Case study: A149
James Williams and his wife Bronia say apart from the odd Sunday they cannot remember when they last had a good night's sleep.
The couple run The White House Campsite on the A149 at Repps-with-Bastwick, near Potter Heigham, and say barrelling lorries and HGVs are spoiling their quality of life.
Mr Williams has been pushing for action for years over the number of speeding vehicles he tags as 'ridiculous'. 'The people that come here on holiday do not know the area and we have had some near misses. We are desperate. My biggest worry is the camp site. About three years ago they changed the road surface and I can't remember when we last had a decent night's sleep. The whole house is shaking,' he said.
Case study: East Harling
Families in East Harling have long been calling for action over the lorries which trundle through their village.
They say the HGVs struggle to cope with the tight corners and narrow lanes in the Breckland village.
Valentine's Corner, in Market Street, suffers regular damage, they say, with bollards having to frequently be replaced or repaired.
And Ellen Jolly, who represents Harling and Heathlands on Breckland District Council, says the county council has yet to heed the concerns of villagers.
The Conservative said: 'The parish council and local residents have expressed their concerns to the county council for years.
'All who live in the village, especially the elderly and parents with young children, are hugely at risk. We have been led to believe that nothing will happen until there is a fatality.'
A council spokesman said there had been safety schemes implemented in East Harling to help with road safety concerns and personal injury accident statistics were constantly monitored.
• Do you think a review of the roads hierarchy in Norfolk is needed? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.