Sleep-deprived residents launch petition over 'midnight lorries'

Joe and Karen

Joe O'Neill and Karen Close, who live on the high street. - Credit: Archant

Fed up residents in Needham Market say their sleep is being disrupted by noisy lorries driving along the town's high street due to an A14 diversion. 

A petition has been launched to try to stop the diversion taking HGVs through the town's main street, which is home to many listed buildings. 

The A14 diversion started before Christmas and is planned to continue until mid-March.

Joe O'Neill and Karen Close, who live on the high street, described how the lorries go past "one after another" from around 8-9pm until the early morning, and have left them getting "two hours max" of sleep per night due to the noise and lights.

Needham Market High Street

Needham Market High Street is home to many listed buildings. - Credit: Archant

They said the illuminations from the HGVs is "like someone shining a torch in your face" and have turned to using sleeping tablets because they haven't been able to "get a decent night's sleep for months".

They've also seen “cracks starting to appear” in their home, which was built in 1635, adding that during the night “everything just shakes and vibrates.”

Ceiling damage

Joe and Karen say they have seen "cracks starting to appear" in their home. - Credit: Archant

They also say that, despite attempts from people in the community to make contact with highways officials, they feel "abandoned" and that "they're not listening."

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A petition, called 'Stop the midnight lorries', has been launched, and people are able to pledge their support in various businesses and community spaces along the high street. 

It will be presented to Suffolk County Council upon completion. 

Needham Market High Street

The high street has been the designated route of a lorry diversion. - Credit: Archant

Mike Norris, district councillor for Needham Market, said the overnight noise was taking its toll on residents. 

"Needham Market High Street is a conservation area which has a 7.5 tonne weight limit, that was suspended by SCC Highways without any notification to the town council, to enable the diversion via the B1113 through Needham Market to take place," he said. 

"The effect of the continual overnight noise and vibration on resident’s health and wellbeing is becoming quite intolerable."

He added: "Any resulting repairs necessary to listed buildings will inevitably be expensive, and it may well be that SCC Highways and National Highways will find themselves facing high compensation claims."

National Highways has been approached for comment.