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West Road: Lorry drivers causing HGV havoc after ignoring street closures at Sawbridgeworth housing development

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Lorry drivers failing to heed 'No entry' signs at a closed road in Sawbridgeworth have been causing chaos after being forced to reverse.

The havoc at West Road has been described by Hertfordshire County Council executive member for the environment and town councillor Eric Buckmaster as “beyond the pale” and has been slammed by residents.

The road was closed on August 9 for 10 weeks for gas works on the new housing developments being built by Barratt Homes and Taylor Wimpey, meaning customers for businesses along the road had to approach them via High Wych Road.

West Road chaos (50720599)
West Road chaos (50720599)

But last week Cllr Buckmaster reported the issue of HGVs ignoring the signs to the Sawbridgeworth Facebook group.

“For the second time I have asked both developers in West Road to ensure HGVs do not go through the road closure signs while the Cadent gas works are on,” he said.

He said the HGVs being forced to reverse was “very dangerous”, adding: “I have suggested marshals, just as they've been doing while schools were in term time. There's really no effort to take control of this.”

Sawbridgeworth's Herts county councillor Eric Buckmaster, who is executive member for the environment and also a town and district councillor (50747480)
Sawbridgeworth's Herts county councillor Eric Buckmaster, who is executive member for the environment and also a town and district councillor (50747480)

There were scores of comments from residents on the issue with some slamming the developers for a lack of consideration while others said the door number system indicating where the closure was led to confusion.

Last Friday (August 27) it was reported that a new sign had been put up and Cllr Buckmaster expressed hope that would solve the issue, although another resident reported three lorries along the road that morning.

A resident reported that the diversion route, while West Road was closed, through High Wych had caused problems with lorries struggling to get through narrow roads. Another person posted that a large HGV was struggling to turn in Crofters, while a resident reported an HGV was turning into Hoestock Road to try to get to West Road.

The housing developments, which will see 133 homes being built by Taylor Wimpey on land north of West Road and 175 by Barratt Homes to the south of West Road, have caused a headache for residents and councillors.

Former mayor Cllr Annelise Furnace (50752867)
Former mayor Cllr Annelise Furnace (50752867)

In February, the then Sawbridgeworth town mayor Cllr Annelise Furnace wrote to East Herts Council expressing “grave concern” over problems caused by construction traffic.

She asked why work was allowed to start before a construction management plan was in place and approved for the Barratt Homes development and what enforcement mechanisms there were to ensure such plans were adhered to.

The mayor also asked how incidents could be reported and how the impact of the developments could be mitigated.

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