A38 weight limit?

TRAFFIC problems could be over for villagers in North Somerset thanks to plans for a new weight restriction on the A368 between Churchill and West Harptree

TRAFFIC problems could be over for villagers in North Somerset thanks to plans for a new weight restriction on the A368 between Churchill and West Harptree.North Somerset councillor John Crockford-Hawley, executive member for strategic planning and transport, is appealing to Bath and North East Somerset Council to join North Somerset Council in putting a weight restriction on the busy road, which stretches into both counties.For years villagers in Banwell, Winscombe, Churchill, Blagdon, Shipham, Congresbury, Langford and Sandford have been complaining about lorries cutting through their villages and have been appealing for a weight restriction to limit the amount of heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) allowed through.Cllr Crockford-Hawley previously announced he was looking into placing a weight restriction from the crossroads at Churchill to Burrington Combe but Somerset County Council was unwilling to impose an order above the combe and across the Mendips.Banwell and Winscombe ward councillor, Tony Lake, said: "It will certainly help the situation. If Bath and North East Somerset Council agrees to it, it will be excellent news for the villages."The restriction would be experimental and would run from Churchill crossroads to West Harptree.Cllr Crockford-Hawley said: "Such a move would cover a sufficiently long stretch to allow genuine local businesses the right to continue using the roads and it would theoretically stop inappropriate HGV passage and access. It would offer suitable places at either end of the restricted stretch of road for heavy vehicles to take appropriate detours and it would give both councils an opportunity to monitor results."When surveys were carried out in the area last year, 80 per cent of the vehicles travelling through the villages were considered local and had a right to be there as they were either from the area or delivering to businesses in the area.These vehicles will still be able to travel on the road with weight restrictions but the 20 per cent of lorries which have been using the villages as a shortcut will not.Cllr Crockford-Hawley added: "These traffic problems have been getting steadily worse for years. Residents have been waiting long enough. Unless we take action locally, there's little immediate prospect of improving the lives of people living in these rural villages."A weight restriction isn't a complete solution to the traffic problems in these villages, but it's a sensible and positive first step."The experimental restriction could become permanent if it works well and Cllr Crockford-Hawley will also continue to meet with members of the freight industry to encourage the use of practical routes.

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