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MP hits back after council reneges on sign promise

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: May 27, 2014

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BURTON’S MP has blasted Staffordshire County Council for reneging on a promise to divert heavy traffic from a busy Burton road.

The authority said last winter that it would put signs along Forest Road and Henhurst Hill to direct heavy HGVs away from the route and on to more appropriate roads.

However, after MP Andrew Griffiths wrote asking for an update on the plan, he was told it would not be done as it would lead to ‘signing clutter’ and make the situation worse.

In a letter seen by the Mail, the council’s chief executive Nick Bell said the road was an important route to support the freight industry in the Burton area, and that the heavy traffic had right to use it.

“The county council must assess, review and maintain the highway network, taking account of all traffic flows and the local context of roads. Proactive re-directing of traffic is notoriously difficult to enforce, requiring extensive signing clutter and can ultimately make the situation even worse for those affected communities,” he added.

Mr Griffiths said he was ‘surprised and disappointed by the letter, which comes a year after the council announced its intention to install signage along the residential road. He said he has written back ‘demanding’ that the authority sticks to its word.

The signs were proposed following a feasibility study which looked into putting a weight limit on the road.

Mr Griffiths told the Mail: “I am astounded. It seems the mitigation measures local people had been promised have been kicked into the long grass. Residents have every right to feel let down.

“It is simply unacceptable to back-track in this way. The residents of Forest Road and Henhurst Hill deserve better.”

More than 800 people signed a petition calling for change on the road as part of the county council’s feasibility study, including members of Shobnall Traffic Action Group (STAG). The group has been lobbying for these signs to go up since then, but disgusted chairman Jan Shand said she had heard nothing since June last year.

She added: “They have totally reneged on what they agreed to do. This smacks of the fact they don’t care what the resident think.”

The group is due to discuss the issue of HGVs at their AGM this evening.

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