Appeal for support to fight Petworth lorry nightmare

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Petworth town councillors are appealing for help to fight the growing nightmare of heavy lorries causing congestion and getting stuck in the town centre.

Chairman Chris Kemp told the annual town meeting in The Leconfield Hall on Friday evening (May 26) they were taking steps to get improvements in the lorry route signage, but they needed evidence that lorries were causing a problem, to support their case.

Although it was a daily occurrence, well known in the town, he said few reports were being made to the police.

“Police officers tell us they have only ever had two reports of lorries in the town that shouldn’t be there,” he told the meeting.

“ It is a bit embarrassing to tell police we have a problem when they say they haven’t had any reports.

“I would urge you to email police at Operation Crackdown if you see any lorries that shouldn’t be in the centre of Petworth.”

He told the meeting there should never be lorries coming into the town through North Street or Pound Street over 7.5 tonnes which were not delivering or making collections from businesses in the town.

He said there was currently no weight restriction on Angel Street, but town councillors were hoping to have one imposed.

A survey is being carried out by Petworth Business Association to show businesses do not use lorries larger than 7.5 tonnes for delivers.

They are also planning to hire road strips for a month to collect data on types of vehicles using Angel Street, North Street and Pound Street.

“We are still working with highways officers at West Sussex County Council to improve the lorry situation because it is a big thing with everyone in the town.

“We are commissioning a survey with the help of West Sussex County Council to try and monitor the lorry movements we have at this point in time because otherwise we haven’t got a benchmark.

“If we manage to get an adjustment of the lorry route signage, we will be able to measure new movements against what we have now and know whether it has all been worthwhile.”

Mr Kemp told the meeting the town council was moving forward with some of the recommendations from its traffic consultant’s report.

Planting had been carried out at town gateway on the A272 and at the junction of Sheepdown Drive and Angel Street.

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