Hitchin cricket ground contractors move to fix lorry problems

PUBLISHED: 08:22 22 March 2018 | UPDATED: 08:22 22 March 2018

A lorry from the Lucas Lane development reverses out of Oughtonhead Road in Bedford Road. Picture: Rachel Jacobs

A lorry from the Lucas Lane development reverses out of Oughtonhead Road in Bedford Road. Picture: Rachel Jacobs

Archant

Contractors working on Hitchin's cricket and hockey ground revamp have moved to sort out "teething problems" on the route to the site at Lucas Lane, amid claims of "lorry chaos".

A heavy vehicle makes its way to the Lucas Lane site. Picture: Michelle JacksonA heavy vehicle makes its way to the Lucas Lane site. Picture: Michelle Jackson

Neighbours have been up in arms at what one told the Comet was “a hell”, with heavy vehicles taking incorrect routes and damaging the pavements and verges by riding up on them.

Gary Baggett told the Comet: “All the verges they’ve damaged, and all the pavements they’ve crushed. They’re just making their lives a hell down there. You’ve got 40-ton vehicles driving on the pavements while schoolchildren as young as four are using them.”

Michelle Jackson described four lorries heading up Oughtonhead Way in convoy and causing “chaos”. Both she and Gary said some vehicles had gone past during drop-off and pick-up periods at Samuel Lucas JMI School in Gaping Lane.

Hitchin Town Cricket Ground Ltd, which runs the Hitchin Cricket Club and Blueharts Hockey Club site, admitted to us there had been “teething problems”, with some delivery drivers from contractor Morgan Sindall not taking the designated route to the site.

Damage done to a road verge by vehicles making their way to the Lucas Lane site. Picture: Michelle JacksonDamage done to a road verge by vehicles making their way to the Lucas Lane site. Picture: Michelle Jackson

But a spokeswoman said that drivers had since been told to follow the directions given rather than satnav, and that site manager Paul Rainbow was now calling all drivers 30 minutes before arrival to reiterate the correct route.

She said photographs had been taken of roads and verges along the route before work began, and that Morgan Sindall would ensure equivalent or better conditions when work is done.

“A few issues might have heightened emotions, but we are confident these have largely been dealt with and that everything is being done in accordance to the traffic management agreement and overall project plan,” she said. “We appreciate that this is a difficult time for local residents, and that no-one enjoys having construction traffic passing their homes.

“We’re monitoring the position closely with Morgan Sindall and are ensuring they do all they are contracted to do – and more – in terms of considerate construction measures, and managing the making good of any issues that may occur as a result of the development.

“We appreciate and thank all residents for their ongoing patience as we work towards completion of this fantastic new community facility.”

The firm has told the Comet mechanical cleaners are now being used rather than sweepers to clean the roads, and that a traffic marshal is now stationed at the bottom of Bedford Street at all times.

Morgan Sindall has also started sending out a regular newsletter to neighbours to update on building progress and construction access measures.

Hitchin Town Cricket Ground Ltd has funded the revamp by selling a strip of land off Lucas Lane to CALA Homes, which intends to build 27 houses there.

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