The Street, Knapton
From its junction with Knapton Road, The Street heads towards Paston, past our 14th century St Peter & St Paul’s church, a couple of twists before it meanders down the hill, narrowing further still as it brushes the fronts of the homes, some of which date back over 200 years and whose doors open on to the road. By this point, two cars struggle to pass each other. It’s also around here that The Street connects to two Quiet Lanes.
This quaint olde country village road was built at a time when farmer’s horses pulling carts were the only traffic on it as they transported their produce to the farm or to the railway station to send to market. The station closed in 1964.
The road and the properties were built long before HGVs were even thought of, so they weren’t designed and built to deal with the side effects of heavy vehicles moving at speed just feet from their door.
Imagine stepping out of your door almost directly onto the narrow street and straight into the path of an HGV as it thunders past. It may well be travelling to or from Bacton Gas Terminal and its SatNav has directed it off the route approved by GBT for its suppliers to use. It’s taking a short cut. Shaking the very foundations of the old village properties as it passes, often forcing traffic to reverse out of its way because the road simply isn’t wide enough to accommodate two large vehicles along 60% of its length.
Bacton Gas Terminal have proven themselves to be friends of the the surrounding villages, of which we are one. Indeed, they have just recently provided a new park bench for our playground.
They have clearly identified routes which they have instructed their suppliers to use when accessing the terminal, specifically to avoid using the quiet back lanes and roads round the local villages, including ours.
The Parish Council has a presence on a committee at Bacton Gas Terminal which has already shown that if sufficient evidence is provided, it will penalise suppliers who do not stick to their agreed routes. Persistent offenders can have their supplier status removed altogether.
We are seeking ways to gather information of such vehicles using The Street and provide the details to BGT of any abusers. We would welcome any evidence that villagers can provide, including photos dated and timed please.
We are also looking at the possibility of gaining a ban on HGVs altogether on the Street by way of imposing a weight restriction. This will be a challenge and we are awaiting advice back from Highways on this.
Watch this space.
To help strengthen our argument for change, we have looked around us and found a few precedents where villages local to us have managed to implement the blue Unsuitable for HGV signs as part of their road management scheme.
- as vehicles enter Gimmingham
- at the T Junction into Mundesley at the end of Water Lane
It’s fair to say that a lot of commercial drivers use, if not rely on, Sat Nav to get them to where they want to be. But Satellite Navigation is indiscriminate and does not take into account the nature of the road, simply recognising it as a classified A, B or C road.
Clearly there are C roads and there are C roads.
What chance would a resident have stepping out of their door into the path of a 40 ton artic!
For most drivers, The Street is not the end destination, it’s simply part of a larger route, so we are also trying to see if we can implement a sign that tells drivers of HGVs to ignore their Sat Nav and find an alternative, more suitable route, better able to accommodate vehicles of their size and weight.