Calls to impose a weight restriction on a village road where lorries are forced to squeeze past each other have reached a peak now a council boss has waded in to the argument.
Villagers complain that the heavy traffic causes a danger to pedestrians
Staffordshire County Council has been asked to put a weight limit on the A515 through Yoxall and Kings Bromley where angry residents are continuing to capture shocking footage of large wagons rumbling down the road and mounting pavements.
However, council bosses have said they are instead moving along with proposals to install signs warning HGVs that the road is unsuitable for them, claiming that the authority cannot implement a weight limit on a primary road network such as the A515.
The A515 is used as a short cut by truckers from the A38 to the A50, and drivers are often being guided along the route by their satnavs.
Now, council leader Philip Atkins has told campaign group Yoxall Traffic Action Group that taking the A515 out of the primary road network would have to be considered.
Shocking footage has previously been released of lorries mounting the pavements to squeeze past other vehicles on the tight road; escalating fears for the safety of youngsters from the local primary school.
Children from the school have even held a protest asking lorries to stop using the A515.
The county council previously announced plans to provide new signs to advise HGV drivers that the route is unsuitable for them, even though there is no weight restriction currently on the route.
There will also be engineering improvements and looking at restricting HGV movements onto the A515, such as from the A513.
The county council explained that while, as the highway authority, it does have the power to implement weight limits on roads, it said that certain roads such as trunk roads and motorways are in the control of the Department for Transport through Highways England and the council has no jurisdiction over them.
The council also said it manages a series of routes within the county which are classified as the primary route network (PRN) which designates roads between places of traffic importance known as primary destinations across the UK, with the aim of providing easily identifiable routes to access the whole of the country. The A515 is part of this primary network.
The primary route network aim is to ensure that traffic has a clear route between two primary destinations.
In a letter to the Yoxall Traffic Action Group, Councillor Atkins said: "A PRN must provide unrestricted access to 40 tonne vehicles.
The introduction of a weight limit on the A515 would therefore require the route to be taken out of the primary route network.
Changes to the primary route network have to be considered in a holistic manner within and across local highway authority boundaries.
"Data on traffic volumes is part of a report that will be shortly presented to the Freight and Communities Forum where options and recommendations will be discussed.
One of the options in the report is to consider the review of the A515 in this context as part of the county wide primary route network."
However, in an email to Councillor Atkins, chairman of Yoxall Traffic Action Group, Nick Whitwell, said: "You essentially make one point in your letter and that is that the A515 cannot have its status changed without a full review of all the PRNs in Staffordshire.
"My understanding of what this means (because on the face of it, it makes no sense at all) is that your advice is, if you go ahead and change the status of this road then you are likely to get other requests to change the status of other roads.
"Clearly it is not necessary to carry out this work to deal with the A515 but it is an issue of wider significance to the county council.
"I cannot believe that what you are saying is that clearly you agree something needs to be done as evidenced by your actions but then the reason for not doing the sensible thing is that you might have to consider other cases of similar merit causing danger and misery to those residents. Of course if they do not, for example, have simple solutions then they are not of similar merit.
"The official position from the elected parish councils is that the current proposals, if they include the other two roads suggested, provide great short-term relief but you need to start the declassification of the A515 now.
"Changing the status of the road will not be particularly controversial and open up options in the future to move things more quickly than the snail’s pace to date."
In a reply, Councillor Atkins said: "You will be aware that both the Staffordshire Freight Forum and the A515 Working Group have met to discuss the options available and the work is ongoing to deliver the agreed outcomes.
"Should you require any further information I suggest you contact your parish council accordingly."