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Lorries set to be banned from Lower Street area of Stansted in Essex County Council scheme enforced by police

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Christmas has come early for residents of Grove Hill in Stansted, who received news this week that all lorries are set to be banned from the centre of the village.

The entry points of Grove Hill, Church Road, High Lane and Chapel Hill will become no-go zones for HGVs, to be monitored using the latest camera technology, under proposals agreed between highways authority Essex County Council and residents.

The scheme will go out to consultation in the new year and is a solution to years of negotiations. It makes Stansted one of the first areas in the county to seek a blanket ban.

A bus and lorry squeeze their way through Grove Hill (53796584)
A bus and lorry squeeze their way through Grove Hill (53796584)

Stansted's county councillor Ray Gooding said: "After decades of problems with HGVs using Grove Hill and the centre of Stansted as a through route, we now at last have a solution.

"Over the years a number of options have been investigated that have proved to be impractical, but now the decision is that the entire centre of Stansted will be controlled by a weight limit that will preclude all HGVs (unless they can demonstrate they are delivering to a defined address within the controlled area) from entering the centre of Stansted from Grove Hill, Church Road, Chapel Hill or High Lane.

"This will be enforced by surveillance equipment at each of those entry points. Enforcement measures will be in place and there will be the ability for drivers who breach the regulations to be prosecuted."

Essex county councillor for the Stansted division, Ray Gooding (53796576)
Essex county councillor for the Stansted division, Ray Gooding (53796576)

He said that significant signage would be installed on surrounding roads to divert traffic to routes that avoid the village.

"It's pretty much the best solution," said Cllr Gooding. "We're never going to solve the problem completely, but certainly this is going to alleviate a significant part of it. We had to look at the broader issue."

The move follows a meeting on Monday (Dec 13) between residents, Cllr Gooding, Stansted Parish Council and Cllr Lee Scott, the cabinet member for highways at Essex County Council.

According to Cllr Gooding, Cllr Scott had already paved the way for police to enforce the restrictions in terms of resources and officers would be taking "a very stringent enforcement role".

A highways maintenance truck going up Grove Hill (53796668)
A highways maintenance truck going up Grove Hill (53796668)

But pleas from Grove Hill residents for bollards to prevent vehicles mounting the pavements was a non-starter, Cllr Gooding added. "Bollards are definitely a 'no' after three failed safety audits – there's insufficient space to put them," he said.

Grove Hill resident Andrew McDonnell, who has been leading a campaign on behalf of residents, welcomed the news as "a big step in the right direction" but said they would continue to exert pressure on the authorities until the ban was in place.

"The updates we received on Monday is a long-awaited piece of good news in resolving part of the village's traffic problems. We hope this isn't something we have to wait another year to be in place and hope this can be implemented early 2022," he said.

Andrew McDonnell outside his home in Grove Hill that was damaged by a passing lorry. Picture: Vikki Lince
Andrew McDonnell outside his home in Grove Hill that was damaged by a passing lorry. Picture: Vikki Lince

"There are still many serious issues that need to be urgently resolved, the key one being the numerous vehicles that jump the red lights going up and down Grove Hill on a daily basis."

Stansted parish and district councillor Geoffrey Sell said residents had shown "great patience".

He added: "The Parish Council has been working closely with county councillor Ray Gooding in trying to address the issues of HGVs of over 7.5 tonnes accessing these roads. Residents have shown great patience, but at last much needed measures will be shortly implemented.

"I should like to add my and the parish council's thanks to county councillor Lee Scott. He has visited Stansted twice to see the issues for himself and will be returning again in January.

"Thanks should go also to residents, particularly those of Chapel Hill and Grove Hill who have campaigned for these measures. I hope that the quality of life in the centre of Stansted will be significantly improved.

"The Parish Council recognizes there are other issues, such as speeding and jumping the lights on Grove Hill which remain to be addressed."

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