Hitchin lorry park considered to combat residents’ ‘nightmare’

LORRIES which park up in residential streets near a metal scrapyard could be banished during the night and relocated to another spot in the town.

Hitchin district and county councillors are exploring the possibility of banning all HGVs from parking at night in the roads surrounding a Hitchin industrial park.

It follows the loss of a High Court appeal last month, which sought to impose restrictions on Metal and Waste Recycling, formerly H Williams Scrapyard.

Councillors and officers at North Herts District Council (NHDC) and Herts County Council (HCC) are looking into the implications of banning lorries from streets including Grove Road, Cadwell Lane and Wallace Way.

At their first specialised meeting last week, they said that they hoped to move those lorries elsewhere in the town, and that they would have more of an idea of potential locations at the next meeting held later this month.

NHDC councillor Lisa Courts sits on the cross-party group along with Bearton councillors Judi Billing and Deepak Sangha, NHDC portfolio holder Tom Brindley, NHDC shadow portfolio holder Paul Clark, district councillor David Billing and county councillor Ray Shakespeare-Smith.

She said: “We’re not trying to put anybody out of business. We just want a decent night’s sleep which you can’t get with lorries going up and down at five in the morning.

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“It would be nice if the drivers could just stop and think about what they’re doing to residents.

“Officers have gone away, and Herts Highways have gone away, and will come back with details on what it will cost. The next step will be finding out what is the best option.”

Originally, some councillors had suggested introducing a town-wide night lorry ban, similar to the one in place in Letchworth GC, but it was not deemed feasible.

Sites which have been discussed already include Woodside Car Park, but it is not thought lorries will be able to turn around there.

It may be considered whether the creation of a new site is possible.

If the proposals are to be pursued, a public consultation would have to be held as well as a traffic survey.

Cllr David Billing said that councillors would be wary of where the lorries would be relocated.

“What we can’t have is a knock-on effect to other residential streets, so we are looking at possible parking areas away from residential areas, and which would not need lorries to go through such areas to park up,” he told the Comet.

“This will not solve all residents’ problems with these lorries, However, we need to be imaginative in the meantime and do what we can do alleviate the misery that many residents suffer from the scrapyard’s operation.”

The possibility of opening up a link road currently being used by Network Rail for the Hitchin rail curve project was also discussed, but the county council has warned this could take some years to materialise.

The option has been added to the county’s transport plan for Hitchin, at the request of Cllr Billing.

A spokesman from NHDC said: “We are looking into alternative options for regulating HGVs in the area as part of the Hitchin town wide parking review.”