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Action on lorries driving through Clare and Stour Valley villages

Ex-Met police officer and Clare resident, Bob Verguson, has put posters around the town of Clare asking asking if townspeople are fed up with large articulated lorries rumbling through Clare. ENGANL00120111216132723

Ex-Met police officer and Clare resident, Bob Verguson, has put posters around the town of Clare asking asking if townspeople are fed up with large articulated lorries rumbling through Clare. ENGANL00120111216132723

Clare Town Council is drawing up plans to carry out a survey of the lorries which pass through the area.

The authority wants to establish just how many HGVs are making deliveries in the town and those which should use an alternative route.

It is hoping to set up laybys at entrance and exit points to find out where lorries are going and where they have come from.

“We want to get a definitive answer on what lorries could avoid coming through Clare and the ones which need to,” said Keith Haisman, chairman of the council.

“If we stop lorries in a layby and ask where they are going, that would tell us.”

Mr Haisman said the advantage of the survey, compared with CCTV, was that drivers could not say they were making a delivery if they got stuck in traffic.

“We are currently trying to find adequate locations for the laybys and are working with the county council to find a solution,” he added.

Progress is being made in attempts to reduce the number of articulated lorries clogging up narrow roads and damaging listed buildings in Clare.

For more than three years, the Stour Valley Lorry Action Group (SVLA) has been campaigning to have a weight limit imposed on the A1092.

This would restrict the number of HGV vehicles – many weighing up to 44 tonnes – that travel through Clare, Cavendish, Glemsford, Stoke by Clare and parts of Long Melford.

Group chairman Bob Verguson said more than 17,000 people had signed a petition calling for a solution to the problem and CCTV footage was now being gathered to highlight the issue to Suffolk County Council.

“We have had discussions with county council staff and they have admitted that there is a problem,” said Mr Verguson, who lives in Stoke Road, Clare.

“That is a positive step and we are looking to get CCTV evidence of the huge lorries that use the road as a cut-through so what we are saying cannot be refuted.”

Mr Verguson said that in order to build a picture of the disruption and damage caused by articulated lorries, CCTV images from The Bell Hotel on Market Hill, which has been hit on numerous occasions, was to be used.

Another option is to use a form of auto number plate recognition (ANPR), to allow campaigners to assess which HGVS are making deliveries to businesses in the area and which are using the road as a short cut.

“The Bell has been clouted many times and now that Greene King has put CCTV in place, we can use that,” said Mr Verguson, a former police officer.

“We would like to think the amount of people who have signed the petition would have an impact.”

Last summer, a Co-op lorry struck Clare Pharmacy in Well Lane, causing scaffolding outside the building to collapse and damaging the neighbouring newsagents.

But Mr Verguson said damage was not the only reason HGVs should use alternative routes such as the A1124, A131, A143 or A14.

“The A1092 is regularly used by ambulances going through to Addenbrooke’s Hospital – and when they get stuck by the lorries, they cannot go anywhere,” he said.

“We are not anti-lorry, but the big artics need to be stopped.”

SUPPORT

Mary Evans, Suffolk County Council’s assistant cabinet member for roads and transport, said the authority was conducting an origin and destination survey to monitor whether lorries were accessing the area for legitimate business or using it as a shortcut.

safe site

“So far, it has not been possible to find a safe site for conducting the survey but we are still exploring options,” said Mrs Evans.

information

“We need to know where traffic is coming from and where it is going in order to inform our decisions on how best to serve the interests of people living locally, as well as supporting businesses,” she said.

roadworks

A major road resurfacing programme will take place in Clare in June. “This will include remedial work to the roads and pavements to mitigate the impact of heavy traffic,” added Mrs Evans.

 

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