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Residents condemn lorry drivers for cutting corners, ruining roads and disregarding other drivers en route to Walpole substation  

Credit:  Ben Jolley | Cambs Times | 29 January 2016 | www.cambstimes.co.uk ~~

Residents of Walpole Marsh say they are fed up with lorry drivers speeding, cutting corners, using mobile phones and ruining roads, grass verges and front gardens in the village.

The increase in the number of lorries driving along local roads is due to an onshore substation being built adjacent to the National Grid’s Walpole site.

However, the real catalyst for protest came after a Mick George lorry overturned on French’s Road at 3.30pm on a January afternoon, sparking a social media furore.

One Facebook user said: “I have had three near misses on the road from Walpole substation to Wisbech in the last two months.”

Another said: “I got forced into the kerb at West Walton not long ago because a lorry was over the white line and going really fast.

A third user added: “Our driveway is being used as a passing place.

“The road is crumbling at the edges due to the volume and weight of the lorries using it. It’s like a muddy track. They hog the road and drive too fast!”

After reading the comments, we visited residents to get their opinions.

The increase in the number of lorries driving along local roads is due to an onshore substation being built adjacent to the National Grid’s Walpole site.

However the real catalyst for protest came after a lorry overturned on Frenchs Road at 3.30pm on a January afternoon, sparking a social media furore.

One Facebook user said: “I have had three near misses on the road from Walpole substation to Wisbech in the last two months.”

Another said: “I got forced into the kerb at West Walton not long ago because a lorry was over the white line and going really fast.

A third user added: “Our driveway is being used as a passing place.

“The road is crumbling at the edges due to the volume and weight of the lorries using it. It’s like a muddy track. “They hog the road and drive far too fast!”

After reading the comments, we visited residents to get their opinions.

Eddie Ridgewell, a resident, said: “There’s so much traffic on the main route coming from West Walton to the substation – aggregate lorries, cement lorries and low loaders.

“The biggest issue is that all the verges have now got huge holes where lorries have pulled off, leaving big drops off the side.

“A lot of the roads have actually been destroyed,” he added.

“It’s dangerous now, you can’t pull off. The lorries are continual and it’s not safe because there are so many bends.”

DONG Energy awarded a £21.8 million contract to J Murphy & Sons Limited for construction of the onshore substation for the Race Bank offshore wind farm development project

Ian Renshaw, leads environment and consents specialist at DONG Energy, said: “We take the concerns of local residents very seriously.

“We have a dedicated helpline and community liaison officer in place to assist with any enquiries relating to our Race Bank offshore wind farm, which is being built off the North Norfolk coast.

“We have listened to concerns over traffic issues in Walpole Marsh and are in contact with residents that have been affected.

“There are a number of large-scale construction projects in this area, so many of the vehicles using the local roads are not connected to DONG Energy.”

However, Natasha Williams, of School Road, Walton Highway, said the way the lorries drive is “beyond a joke.

“They don’t consider other people that live round this area.

“Everyone has had enough of it.”

The clerk of Walpole Parish Council Emma Bateman said: “There’s a lot of traffic and the weather’s really bad and it’s not very nice, but we have had meetings with both construction sites and expressed the residents’ concerns.

“They are trying to meet up with Norfolk County Council representatives about it but no date has been confirmed yet.”

A Norfolk County Council spokesman added: “We do understand that concerns have been raised about the construction traffic for two developments in this area.

“The local planning authority, in this case the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk, are responsible for making sure that any planning conditions for developments, including traffic management plans, are being implemented.

“If people are concerned about poor or dangerous driving, they should contact the police.”

Chris Newman, a resident, however thinks the state of the roads is dangerous.

She said: “Cutting corners, the amount of times you see them on their phones – they just don’t have any consideration for other drivers.

“These roads are not made for that kind of vehicle. You get used to the farm traffic, we expect that because we live in the country – but we don’t expect to see three, four or even five lorries going down the road at the same time.

“There are school buses as well, and the other day it was lucky the school bus was where it was, because that could have been down the ditch – with all of the children on it.”

Her husband said: “I’ve contacted the highways division more than three times because of the mess up the road. These lorries are exiting like octopuses when they leave from the power station.

“What they’re doing is bringing the outside of the road – the grass verges – to the middle of the road.

“It’s only a matter of time before an accident is going to happen.

“I’ve seen it myself whilst doing a bit of gardening out the front; where lorries coming along the road, with the drivers using their mobile phones and travelling at well over the 40 mile limit; one girl has had to mount my curb into next door’s drive.

“She paused there for a good 15 minutes to get herself together after this lorry just barrelled through.

“Quite often you get abusive behaviour and hand gestures back.

“I appreciate they’ve got a job to do, but they’re just ignoring the fact that we are residents here.

“They’re blatantly disregarding any other road user’s safety and owning the road using bully boy tactics.

“There’s no reduction of speed for passing cars or schoolchildren getting off buses. I’ve seen it and I’ve recorded it using my Dashcam.

“Many of the incidents we’ve seen are not just, ‘wow, that’s one for the camera’ – they’re down right scary and unless something is done, someone is definitely going to get hurt.”

PANEL:

Race Bank, when operational, will have a capacity of up to 580 megawatts, enough to power over 400,000 UK homes.

The wind farm will be located almost 17 miles off Blakeney Point on the North Norfolk Coast, and a similar distance from the Lincolnshire coast at Chapel St. Leonards.

It will consist of up to 91 turbines, meaning an expected turbine capacity of approximately 6MW.

The work is expected to continue until 2017.

Source:  Ben Jolley | Cambs Times | 29 January 2016 | www.cambstimes.co.uk

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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