Bid to ban HGVs from town centre

Calls have been made for lorries to be banned from Wetherby’s narrow town centre streets.

Thursday, 24th January 2019, 9:00 am

Wetherby councillors, alongside business organisations, have asked senior traffic engineers at Leeds City Council to consider all options to tackle problems caused by heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) in Wetherby.

Ward Coun Gerald Wilkinson said: “As a market town with a proud history, Wetherby has plenty of narrow streets that were designed for horse-drawn traffic well before the onset of HGVs.

“As a result, the litter, congestion, damage and potential for accidents created by oversized vehicles is a considerable nuisance for local residents.

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“It is only right that we look at all the options to protect our town.“

He said it was understood that as part of driving regulations, lorry drivers must observe statutory rest periods, but parked vehicles can cause obstructions for local residents trying to navigate past.

The ward members would, Coun Wilkinson explained, look to get HGV drivers to use approved parking such as at the service station to the north of Wetherby.

“There is a perfectly good service station out by the A1 that can cope with HGVs and we must encourage use of those parking facilities wherever practical,” added Coun Wilkinson.

In a letter to Leeds City Council, Wetherby Town Council said it had been concerned about the volume and nature of HGV traffic travelling through the town centre.

There are currently no restrictions on High Street or Market Place which means that vehicles can, and do, use the town as a thoroughfare,” said the council letter.

“The lack of restrictions make the town a popular route for drivers undertaking Class 1 training exercises.

“The large vehicles contribute to congestion in the town and are a very unpleasant and unsafe addition to the street scene, which could easily be avoided given the easy access to the motorway network and local trading estates provided by the A168.

“There is simply no need for all HGV traffic to come through Wetherby.”

The council stated that it had hoped that weight restrictions could be included on one of the Traffic Regulation Orders being processed by Leeds City Council and was disappointed that these were not supported by Highways Engineers.

“The Town Council wishes to support the view expressed by our Ward Councillors and the Wetherby Business Association that a ban on HGV’s in Wetherby is justified, necessary and should be brought in as soon as possible.”

Coun Norma Harrington added: “The congestion created by HGVs parking up on the outskirts of Wetherby or weaving through the centre is not only a waste of time and fuel, but also a probable cause of pollution.

“A ban on HGVs in the town would go some way to helping us tackle that problem.”

With housing developments putting pressure on the town, Coun Alan Lamb said he expected the problem to worsen but is looking to find a solution.

He said: “The amount of development in the town means that even more lorries will be needed to deliver materials to site.

“We need to make sure that planners, developers and enforcement agencies are all working together to reduce the inconvenience to residents here in Wetherby.” Leeds City Council did not respond for a comment.