Complaints continue despite traffic plan

Lorries on the U34 through Detchant.
Lorries on the U34 through Detchant.

Concerns about the number of lorries travelling on a small rural road through a north Northumberland hamlet continue to be voiced.

For a number of years, the volume of HGVs using the U34 through Detchant, near Belford, to get to the Bedmax plant, has been a source of complaints from residents and other local businesses.

Lorries on the U34 through Detchant.

Lorries on the U34 through Detchant.

The thorny issue, which seems to have no easy resolution given the success and growth of the horse-bedding manufacturer, became a constant topic at Belford Parish Council meetings in 2012 and 2013.

But in May 2015, a number of planning applications seemed to offer a way forward as the county council used the opportunity to apply conditions aimed at tackling some of the issues.

A traffic management plan was drawn up to manage the number and times of HGV movements, create four passing places and establish a liaison group to discuss issues.

However, last year, more than 12 months since the previous planning approval, the key local employer submitted another application.

At that time, one of the grievances expressed by Malcolm Stanton, from the Residents of Detchant Association (Roda), related to the lack of action on these obligations.

He said that it was not just a small number of people who had concerns, but every resident of Detchant who fronts onto the U34, and he also pointed out that the liaison group had not met since April.

Then, in the past three months, Brenda Jackson, of Detchant Farm and another Roda member, has sent a series of emails to Bedmax, the county council and the Gazette, highlighting occasions when the traffic management plan has not been adhered to.

A Bedmax representative responded to these incidents, either pointing out that the rules, for example, the 20mph limit or HGVs not driving in convoy, had been followed or that they had not been but the drivers had been reminded of their responsibilities.

A Northumberland County Council spokeswoman said: “A local resident has been in touch with concerns about traffic movements at the site, which we are investigating and monitoring.”