Calls for new lorry signs to end Petworth nightmare

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Petworth’s long running lorry nightmare has reawakened with new calls for action.

At a meeting of the full town council last night (Thursday, November 17) Rob Evans expressed the sentiments of fellow councillors when he said he was concerned about HGVs in the middle of Petworth: “The lorry situation is getting really bad. Something is going to have to be done.

“I saw two lorries jammed up in the Square recently. We are going to have to resign the route, there is no question about it.”

Town councillors are set to meet their new area highways manager from West Sussex County Council and lorries will be one of the items on the agenda.

They have been a bone of contention for many years rumbling through the centre of the town, becoming wedged and causing gridlock.

The problem is exacerbated by drivers using sat nav which takes them through the middle rather than following the lorry routes.

Eventually in April 2009 a long awaited £119,000 scheme to improve lorry signs was introduced, part of a raft of measures to ensure drivers did not use unsuitable routes.

The aim was to emphasise the existing HGV restrictions and the alternative route lorries should be taking to avoid the town’s narrow streets.

Despite signage, which many people labelled confusing, lorries continued to use the through route often getting stuck and campaigners continued to press for more action.

But at a meeting in 2014 they were told the county council believed ‘95 per cent’ of lorries no longer came through the town centre.

Now traffic consultants commissioned to work for Petworth’s emerging Neighbourhood Plan have reported the lorry nightmare still persists.

The Baxter report says the route is ‘well signed’ but HGVs travelling to ’Petworth’ are directed from all approaches to enter from the east ‘which may cause ambiguity or confusion’.

They have proposed all signage directing HGVs to ‘Petworth’ is removed and the 7.5t weight limit (except for loading) is extended to cover all approaches from the HGV lorry route.

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