Momentum builds for ‘long overdue’ petition that could see HGVs banned in town centre

In 2019, a lorry shed its load in Grove Road, causing huge delays and injuring one person. Picture: Devi Jankowicz

In 2019, a lorry shed its load in Grove Road, causing huge delays and injuring one person. Picture: Devi Jankowicz - Credit: Archant

A “long overdue” petition that could slash the number of lorries and HGVs in Hitchin town centre has reached 600 signatures, and is continuing to rise in popularity.

Set up by resident Jason Piper, the petition calls on Herts County Council to build a dedicated road for Hitchin’s industrial estate, and has reached more than 600 signatures in less than a week.

Jason, and the town’s residents who have signed the plans, argue HGVs are travelling through residential areas of the town that were never designed to accommodate such large vehicles.

The result? Excessive noise, pollution, damage to roads and risk to life, according to Jason’s petition.

Last summer, we reported on the lorry that shed its load on Grove Road, resulting in huge delays and injuries to a nearby pedestrian – which is also referenced in Jason’s petition.

READ MORE: Heavy machinery falls from lorry in Hitchin, causing delays and injuring oneNorth Herts District Councillors Keith Hoskins and Ian Albert have both thrown their weight behind Jason’s petition, arguing it is a “vital and long overdue project for all of Hitchin”.

Cllr Albert continued: “HGVs and other large lorries are totally unsuitable for the streets of Hitchin.

“We have seen, along Grove Road, large lumps of metal deposited and near dangerous accidents. All of this along a road used by commuters and schoolchildren.”

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And Hitchin and Harpenden MP, Bim Afolami, has publicly supported the plan.

He said: “It was a pleasure to speak with the organisers of this petition earlier this week. I support their aims wholeheartedly and share the concerns of local residents regarding the frequent impact of HGV’s travelling to the Hitchin industrial estate.

“I have offered my assistance to the campaign and I will be liaising with Hertfordshire County Council and elected officials to see how their aim can be realised in the near future.”

A spokesman for Hertfordshire County Council said: “We’re always happy to hear the views of Hertfordshire residents, and petitions are one way that people can do this. If this petition gets enough signatures then it will be considered by the appropriate council panel.

“We are looking at improving access to the industrial estate as part of our A505 corridor strategy, however we need to do more work to understand where HGVs using the estate are travelling to and from before we commit to a particular scheme.”

A transport report produced by technicians and engineers at Herts County Council in 2017 outlined a potential solution that could include the banning of HGVs on Grove Road, a no turning movements rule between Grove Road and Cadwell Lane and a link to Stotfold Road.

In their executive summary, the council’s experts said: “This option combination provides a second point of access to the industrial estate which would not have a headroom restriction, provides connectivity between Wilbury Way and Cadwell Lane and increases road network capacity at the Cadwell crossroads.”

However, they also pointed out the potential for “rat running” – the process of using residential roads as shortcuts – on Girdle Road and Hillfield Avenue and “some inconvenience” for cyclists.

For more information about this petition, or to add your name to the signatories list, please search ‘Build a dedicated road for the Hitchin industrial estate’ on Change.org.

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