Villages clash over juggernauts

TWO Suffolk villagers both plagued by HGVs are today on a collision course as one accuses the other of pushing a traffic problem into their patch.Residents of East Bergholt want a 7.

By Tina Heath

TWO Suffolk villagers both plagued by HGVs are today on a collision course as one accuses the other of pushing a traffic problem into their patch.

Residents of East Bergholt want a 7.5 ton maximum weight restriction on the B1070 where it runs through the village.

People in Brantham oppose the move, claiming it will push HGV traffic on to the A137, which runs through their village and already causes a problem to residents because of the noise from thundering lorries.

They in turn would like restrictions placed on the A137, a long standing request that has been re-ignited by East Bergholt's proposal.

The application by East Bergholt Parish Council to Suffolk County Council would reduce the maximum weight limit on the B1070 down from 24.5 tons. Parish council chairman Mervyn Austin said problems with heavy traffic were an ongoing concern but had flared up as a result of more building close to the road.

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"It is not a road that is really suitable for heavy lorries. We have a school there and we are going to have a medical centre. We were trying to pursue a weight restriction before the medical centre application. It's brought up on a continual basis and the medical centre adds to it."

He added: "It's not just a complaint about the lorries on the road it's the speed. It's a narrow road with bends, it's not a perfect road for that type of traffic.

"They should really use the A12 or the A137."

Referring to the conflict of interest with Brantham he said: "It doesn't matter who asks for a weight restriction somebody is going to be unhappy about it. As a parish council we are looking to the people we represent and if they are unhappy about something we are duty bound to try and do something about it."

Suffolk County Council estimates up to 50 lorries bigger than 7.5 tons use the B1070 every day and Jim King chairman of Brantham Parish Council fears some of this traffic will be forced into his village instead.

"We have more than enough lorries on the A137 as it is," he said describing how residents complained of being woken up by thundering traffic moving through the village nearly 24 hours a day.

He would like to see a ban on HGVs on the road between 7pm and 7am, pointing out that there is a similar restriction on the A137 coming into Ipswich.

"If they can do it for Ipswich why can't they put it on for a village," he asks.

Sandra Gage, traffic engineer at Suffolk County Council said that she that she had also received a request from Dedham Parish Council who has asked for an environmental weight restriction on the B1029.

She said: "As these restrictions, if introduced would have an effect on traffic on other roads in the A12/A137/A120 area we have been consulting with other parish and town councils in this area along with Colchester Borough Council.

"We are currently analysing the comments we've had from these councils and looking at the issues raised. Traffic assessments will also have to be carried out in the area to help to establish the likely impact if any further restrictions were introduced and, in discussion with Essex County Council, we hope to be able to suggest some proposals in the near future."