SCORES of people have attended a meeting to throw their weight behind a major campaign to clamp down on haulage companies using a residential road as a shortcut to Burton business parks.
Janet Shand, who is leading the fight, rounded up residents to attend the public gathering at Henhurst Social Club, in Henhurst Hill.
During the meeting, Shobnall Traffic Action Group (STAG) became an officially constituted group with an 11- member committee and chairman being appointed.
The constitution means the group can now apply for funding to take the campaign to a whole new level.
STAG is calling for a 7.5-tonne weight limit restriction on the B5017 Shobnall Road, Forest Road and Henhurst Hill amid concerns over noise nuisance, damage to cars and, mainly, the safety of pedestrians and schoolchildren.
Its other main purposes are to have speed indication devices erected in appropriate places along the route to reduce speeding, along with having school warning signs in Shobnall Road, and to introduce a 20mph school speed limit zone in the vicinity of the school in Shobnall Road.
Mrs Shand said: “It is clear from the turnout of people just how strongly everyone feels about this, and this is why I’ve called the meeting to find out what everyone is prepared to do and to sort out an action plan.
“The only way we can get things done is if we are seen as an organised, professional group. We have done so much work on this campaign already and we are prepared to take this all the way.
“The problem has got to stop because it’s really affecting people’s everyday lives.
“I want to thank everyone who has attended and supported us. The important thing is now we need to keep this going and work together.”
Among the people who have pledged their support are Burton MP Andrew Griffiths, local PCSOs, leader of East Staffordshire Borough Council Richard Grosvenor, county councillor Peter Davies, who represents the Burton Trent Division, and four local parish councils.
Bill Ganley, who represents the Shobnall ward on East Staffordshire Borough Council, said he was wholeheartedly backing STAG.
He said: “We offer our full backing on this matter and will try to support the residents in any way we can. Haulier companies are using the road to save them a few miles on a trip and forgetting about anything else, or the people who get woken up at night from the noise.”
20 YEARS OF HURT FOR RESIDENTS
In 1992, a petition was launched to crack down on heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) using the roads in question. It was launched by Mike Gee, the former Outwoods Parish Council chairman, and resulted in road resurfacing, a rear access road and one fixed speed camera at Henhurst Hill.
In 2002, a survey and report was commissioned by Outwoods Parish Council and concluded that the B5017 was totally inadequate to accommodate the current volume of traffic, both on safety and environmental considerations. It also said there was suitable infrastructure in place without transferring traffic into other sensitive areas, by use of the A50 and A38. Under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, local authorities are able to prohibit or restrict the use of HGVs in specified areas, or on specified roads.
In March 2003, Staffordshire County Council highways officer David Sly said consultants had been employed to look at the traffic situation on the road and a set of solutions would be drawn up ‘in the next few months’.
In 2004, a report submitted at a meeting of Burton Freight Partnership recommended the introduction of a 7.5-tonne weight restriction on the B5017.
The standard carriageway width for a public road carrying significant volumes of heavy lorries is 7.3-metres.
The width of the carriageway in Forest Road is in places down to 6.8 metres. Taking away the width of a parked vehicle, this does not give sufficient distance for HGVs to negotiate the road without mounting the pavement or forcing vehicles to park on the pavement.
If all vehicles complied with the law (in relation to parking on the pavement) it would be virtually impossible for HGVs to use the B5017.
Schoolchildren on board with campaign
SCHOOLCHILDREN have also signed up to join STAG’s campaign.
Youngsters at Shobnall Primary School, in Shobnall Road, have helped the group design appeal posters which were showcased on a special display at the meeting this week.
STAG has managed to secure temporary 20mph speed indication devices, which have been installed outside the school, and is aiming to make this enforcement permanent.
Maureen Smithard, whose five-year-old son attends the school, said: “One day a child is going to get killed — it’s as simple as that.
“I’m really pleased STAG has been established to try to stop these lorries using our road.
“It has a major impact on our lives and often wakes me and my son up when he has school in the morning. It isn’t fair and it’s about time they were stopped.” STAG is also considering launching mass protest marches from The Acorn pub to Centrum 100 in Branston, as well as a demonstration at the entrance to Centrum 100.
Other campaigning ideas put forward at the meeting included posters and banners in houses, gardens and fields.
A day of ‘legal parking’ in Forest Road and Shobnall Road, preventing lorries getting down the road, was also suggested, with appropriate police presence.