Below is a copy of correspopndence sent by Ansford parish Council to The Planning Inspectorate concerning the appeal raised by Andrew Hopkins Concrete Ltd:
Re: APP/R3325/W/17/3186158 (application decision ref 17/01064/FUL)
With reference to the Appeal by Andrew Hopkins Concrete Ltd., planning ref no APP/R325/W/17/3186158 (application decision ref 17/01064/FUL), Ansford Parish Council understands that Hopkins are proposing to limit the number of transporter movements (carrying vehicles to and from the site at Dimmer) to a maximum of 6 per day, each way in both eastern and western directions via the B3153 road, and by using larger articulated transporter trucks. Instead of using transporters that accommodate 9 cars, they now propose to use larger transporters carrying up to 11 cars.
However, the Hopkins proposed “solution” of fewer movements would in fact result in an increased level of disturbance to the public, due to the extra length and overall weight of these larger car transporters, and thus escalating the problem of serious congestion at a number of pinch points on country roads that are already acknowledged to be unsuitable for HGV’s. Planning inspectors have previously described the roads linking Dimmer and the A37 and A371, as “little more than country lanes”, along the B3153.
It is very disappointing that this Appeal from Hopkins does not address the fundamental issues of improving road safety through small villages/hamlets along the local road network, and the notion that slightly fewer transporter movements per day will make any significant difference, is nothing more than wishful thinking on their part. Indeed, this lack of awareness of the adverse consequences that such a major transport project will have on rural communities, certainly doesn’t offer a shred of material consideration to other road users, and especially so with the sheer scale of the operation to accommodate and then re-distribute up to 991 cars at the proposed facility in Dimmer.
It should be clearly noted that HGV traffic turning off the A371 main road onto the B3153 has to manoeuvre around a sharp corner at a point where two rail (under) bridges are situated, where large trucks have to cross over onto the opposing lanes (in both directions), in order to get around the tight corner. At this precise location, there have been several traffic accidents, due to poor
visual siting of this acute and hazardous junction. Cars have previously careered through safety railings on this bend and then dropped down a steep bank, just above the railway line.
However, by far the most hazardous section in Clanville is a highly unsatisfactory combination of narrow lanes, with warning signs alerting motorists of “oncoming vehicles in middle of road”, and which is partially obscured by a blind bend. Furthermore, one can see ample evidence of the serious damage to residential property (boundary walls etc.), where HGV’s have gone beyond the perimeter of the road and churned up the verges, thus causing very large potholes, and which is a never ending and costly process for residents to have to deal with. Longer transporters simply would not have sufficient room in which to pull over onto forecourts/private drives, when HGV’s try to get past each other.
Nevertheless, we would ask the Planning Officers to demand that Hopkins should provide a high capacity (11 cars) vehicle transporter that can be accurately “road tested” along the routes to and from Dimmer, to assess the potential impact along the local road network. Attached to this letter are illustrations and critical dimensions of some types of large car transporters [eg. 4.86mtr. height], and which would be too large to pass under the two restricted-height railway bridges along the A37 [4.4mtr.] and B3153 [4.5mtr.]
The trial runs should be carefully tested, especially with oncoming HGV’s at several vulnerable pinch points and at main road junctions. Also, it is vital that Planning Officers should carry out a thorough visual inspection of the B3153 through Clanville, and most importantly to walk along the route, in order to appreciate the dangerous nature and current condition of the road. May we remind (and warn) you that there are no footpaths, leaving pedestrians and cyclists without secure places in which to take shelter. To rely on maps alone will certainly not provide any meaningful intelligence about public safety, nor to the extent of the vulnerability of people and properties adjacent to the road, and not forgetting the potential onslaught to the local environment, which must be fully taken into account.
In conclusion, with the introduction of these larger HGV’s on this particular route, the situation that is already difficult and dangerous for motorists and pedestrians/cyclists, will become increasingly intolerable for all users and home owners, and our Council cannot therefore agree to accept/support this Appeal, for the above reasons.
Chair, Ansford Parish Council