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Plan to ban HGVs from Beccles lanes

PUBLISHED: 07:50 03 April 2009 | UPDATED: 09:32 11 May 2010

A proposal has been unveiled to ban HGVs from the narrow streets of a historic market town in Suffolk.

A proposal has been unveiled to ban heavy goods vehicles from the narrow streets of a historic market town in Suffolk.

Over recent years, the people of Beccles have become accustomed to the sight of articulated lorries becoming stuck on narrow bends in the town centre, bringing traffic to a standstill.

Now, two councillors have put their heads together in a bid to end the daily dose of noise, disruption, and building vibrations caused by lorries as they rumble through the winding streets.

Town councillor Brian Woodruff and Mark Bee, county councillor for Beccles, want to block access to the town centre to HGVs over 7.5 tonnes.

Mr Woodruff said the number of complaints he has received from residents had reached a peak, and that an unofficial survey he undertook revealed that up to 45 HGVs navigate Beccles town centre every day with about 98pc of them merely passing through.

"Sooner or later we are going to have some fatalities - they go up on the paths," he said. "There's absolutely no need for them to come through the town centre, and it must be affecting our buildings."

He said the dramatic increase in heavy traffic over recent years was partly due to the expansion of Ellough Industrial Estate.

"The council is getting lots of queries and, quite frankly, nasty letters from residents asking when something is going to be done," he said. "Some time we have got to save the centre of Beccles."

The pair have drawn a map which would make heavy vehicles that are heading for the other side of Beccles and travelling from Norwich on the A146 miss the Beccles turn-off, turning at the following roundabout to go through Worlingham along Lowestoft Road.

Under the proposals, HGVs would be allowed into the town centre to make deliveries to businesses, although this could be restricted to off-peak hours.

Beccles Town Council is teaming up with Save Our Rural Roads, an East Anglian pressure group, which is working on getting sat navs to divert lorries to the outskirts of the town centre.

Mr Bee said: "It's important that we look at the preservation of the environment and at the impact on businesses - it's about having that proper balance.

"We need the southern relief road really but we are not going to get it now, so we are trying to solve the problem in the short term."

He said he wanted to make it clear that the working plan was merely a base from which to start, and that he wanted people to come forward with their own views and suggestions.

He said his next step was to take the matter up with transport chiefs at the county council, adding: "It will help me when I go to council to say, this is what the people of Beccles and Worlingham want."

Anyone with a view can contact the town council, or Mr Bee at mark.bee@suffolkcc.go.uk.

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