Grove Hill in Stansted shut for repairs to 400-year-old house hit by wide load
The owners of a house on Stansted’s Grove Hill hit by a lorry are calling for tougher measures to prevent heavy vehicles flouting the road's weight restriction.
Andrew McDonnell and Claire Rivers’ 400-year-old home was struck by a wide-load vehicle that was being escorted by police to a development site in Elsenham. It caught the building’s overhanging roof, causing £60,000 structural damage.
It has taken over a year to secure the Grove Hill closure so that house repairs can be carried out. Scaffolding envelops the property, and the road, which has a 7.5-tonne weight limit, will remain shut until early May.
Mr McDonnell said: “The lorry got to the corner and realised it couldn’t go any further and started to reverse, but it nudged the roof that sticks out, knocking the guttering and tiles off. It's caused cracks in the plaster and may have damaged the chimney.
“Our surveyor said if the house had been built nowadays it would have collapsed.
"This lorry had a police escort and should have realised it couldn’t continue.
“The hill is used as a short cut by these big lorries going to the developments in Elsenham, but we need to encourage them to find another route. Essex Highways says it hasn’t got the resources to monitor the weight restriction, so we need support from residents to get them to listen.”
The couple have delivered letters to neighbours urging them to photograph traffic jams and oversized vehicles and to send their concerns about congestion, speed and pollution to Stansted’s parish, district and county councillors.
“If enough of us complain, maybe the authorities will listen and help us protect our health, control the traffic levels and keep our village as a village and not a major through road, as it is now,” said Mr McDonnell.
At a parish council meeting on April 3, Grove Hill resident Diane Macfarlane voiced fears that residents could lose their on-street parking in a bid to relieve congestion, but was reassured that this option had “never been discussed”.
Parish councillor Catherine Dean has been lobbying Essex County Council over enforcing the weight limit and ways to ease congestion. She said: “Essex Highways are responsible for enforcing it, but in reality they don't do anything. It makes a mockery of it."
An Essex Highways spokesperson said: “Taking advantage of the road being closed, our traffic signals engineers will be replacing and upgrading the traffic lights with more efficient sensors to improve the responsiveness to traffic approaching. This should reduce waiting at the lights.
“The improvement is funded by Section 106 money from the housing developer under a planning agreement.
"Repair crews have fixed several potholes and will be carrying out pavement repairs. Signs may be slightly improved by some repositioning.”