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So do Lorries and Commuters have Priority?

January 9, 2009 11:27 PM
Lorries using residential roads

Large HGV simply cannot negotiate this turning

When the County Council was asked to provide a sign "Unsuitable for Long Vehicles", Cllr Julie Morris was told that double-articulated lorries have every right to use a residential road and that it was parked vehicles, which include those of residents, which were causing the obstruction and at fault.

Cllr Morris explained to SCC highway engineers that huge delivery lorries bringing stock to the Builder Center in Mill Road, Epsom, were trying to negotiate a right turn from Mill Road into Bridge Road and getting stuck in the process. Whilst the smaller lorries which take building materials onto building sites did not have a problem using this route, the lorries which brought in stock were often a cab plus a container plus another container. Backed up by her neighbours, photographic evidence of the problem had been given to highway engineers.

Cllr Morris said "the simplest solution would be to erect a sign warning drivers of these articulated vehicles that they simply can't turn right because the angle of the turn plus the parking makes it impossible".

However, the reply from the engineers said "It was clear that parked vehicles could cause difficulties for large articulated lorries negotiating the right turn from Mill Road into Bridge Road. However, large vehicles have every right to make this manoeuvre and are entitled to use this road space unhindered. Clearly it is the vehicles parked here that are 'in the wrong' by causing obstruction of the highway. It is an offence to obstruct the Highway and under the Highways Act, the Police do have the power of enforcement against this offence, whether or not waiting restrictions are present."

Once again, the only answer to the parking problems of Epsom as far as the county council is concerned seems to be yellow lines. Cllr Morris says this would penalise residents as well and is not the answer. "It's a bit like a sledgehammer to crack a nut - what on earth was wrong with the cheap solution of providing a sign?" she commented. "My neighbours and I will continue to try and resolve the problem so that our road is not blocked when these vehicles get stuck. It's not the lorries we have such an issue with, it's the fact that the road gets blocked and the drivers spend ages knocking on doors trying to find the owners of the cars to ask them to move. Of course, the owners are long gone since they are all commuters! A residents' parking scheme would create areas of the road suitable for only residents to park, the remaining areas would be yellow-lined, lorries would get through and commuters would be forced out. That's really the ultimate answer, but a sign would have done in the meantime!"