Bypass could be the key to ridding Hockliffe Road in Leighton Buzzard of 'dangerous' HGV traffic
An online petition asked Central Bedfordshire Council’s highways officers to address concerns about the lorry traffic using the road as a cut through to the Grovebury Road industrial estate. Other comments raised were the vehicle speeds along the route and the deterioration of the road surface, according to senior highways officer Charlotte Dunham. Data from 2018 suggests HGV traffic is low and “the mean speeds are at 30mph”, she told a traffic management meeting. “But we’re currently unable to update this because of Covid,” she explained.
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“The intention is to review this information by collecting more traffic volume and speed data once lockdown is eased.”
The e-petitioners said: “This route is unsuitable for such vehicles, especially from Hockliffe Street to Grovebury Road. The Leighton Buzzard bypass is connected to the A5 and goes straight to the industrial estate. The speed these vehicles travel at is a serious safety concern to the public and damages roads, such as the junction of Grovebury Road.”
Conservative Heath and Reach councillor Mark Versallion said: “Everyone agrees the southern bypass, the A505, is a much more sensible and appropriate route. “But it’s not being used. Sat Navs and lorry drivers can ultimately go where they wish unless someone polices them.
“Something more credible needs to be done about consideration of enforcement actions. It’s a problem on the eastern edge of the town where it’s very congested and narrow.” Independent Linslade councillor Victoria Harvey described “how crowded Hockliffe Road feels, with houses close to the narrow pavement” in places.
“It stops people feeling comfortable about going out with small children,” she said. “If we want to get people walking and cycling, we need to make it more pleasant.” Residents from the town end of Hockliffe Road approached Leighton Buzzard South councillor Amanda Dodwell with concerns about traffic speeds. “A woman with a disabled child is struggling to get safely across the road in between the two crossings on Hockliffe Road,” said Cllr Dodwell.
“A lot of other roads around the town centre are down to 20mph. If this section of Hockliffe Road is 20mph that might dissuade HGVs and people who speed from using it, making the area safer for residents.” Leighton Buzzard South councillor David Bowater prefers an HGV ban from the A5 traffic lights, but warned a sign would say: ‘No HGVs except for access’.
“So the truckers will feel they’re gaining access to the Grovebury Road industrial estate. There must be signing for lorries from the Hockliffe Road traffic lights south on the A5 and along the A505 southern bypass, which has a direct access to the industrial estate.” Conservative Arlesey Cllr Ian Dalgarno, who chaired the meeting, said: “The amount of HGVs isn’t high and a percentage will have right of access.
We’ve been looking at Hockliffe and, if we can bypass the village, this traffic won’t go near that junction.
“Our talks over Hockliffe village itself have been torturous, but we’ll continue the process with Highways England and the MP Andrew Selous.
When Covid allows, I’ll instruct officers to gather more data so a decision can be made.”