Lorries banned from town's high street

A BUSINESS leader yesterday warned that a decision to ban heavy vehicles from using a Suffolk market town's high street would have a “devastating” impact and was likely to force the closure of his plant.

John Howard

A BUSINESS leader yesterday warned that a decision to ban heavy vehicles from using a Suffolk market town's high street would have a “devastating” impact and was likely to force the closure of his plant.

The county council's cabinet yesterday approved an order to stop heavy commercial vehicles over 7.5 tonnes from travelling on the B1113 through Needham Market and Badley.

But after the meeting, Mark Miller, the regional director of Hanson Aggregates, said its local concrete plant might have to close as a result. “Ready mixed concrete has a life of two hours - we will be forced to make eight-mile detours via Great Blakenham totalling 23,500 miles a year because of the ban and it will mean we will be unable to supply some of our long-established customers,” he said.


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“We will become uncompetitive if we are not allowed to use the most direct route and it will also affect the environment through all the extra mileage which would have to be undertaken.”

Tom Garnham, one of the hauliers who service the Hanson plant, said: “If the firm closes, that's our livelihoods gone.”

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Councillors rejected a compromise, which would have allowed vehicles containing ready mix concrete to be exempt from the ban, while the return journeys would be routed away from Needham Market centre and Badley.

Julia Truelove, the county councillor for Needham Market, said the town had been suffering for years because of the HGVs using the route. “There are 96 listed buildings, one of which is Grade I, on High Street. The impact on them cannot be over-emphasised.”

She said a reduction in the number of heavy lorries would promote the development of the High Street both economically and visually. Needham Market Town Council was in support of the proposal with no exemptions and she said there was no clear evidence as to why any exemptions should be granted.

A total of 37 objections were received from residents between Needham Market and Great Blakenham, expressing concerns about the likely effect of re-routing HGVs on the length of road between Needham Market and Great Blakenham.

In a written submission, Great Blakenham's county councillor John Field objected to the order. “The residents of Great Blakenham have as much right to a peaceful life as the residents of Needham Market.

“The effects of modern industrial development needed to be shared between communities and the problems of Needham Market should not be deflected via Great Blakenham, which would cause extreme disturbance for the community.”

The cabinet voted 4-3 to introduce a total ban and to reject any exemption for Hanson vehicles.

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