Despite being a tiny historic village on a narrow lane, Melbury Abbas has been designated as a lorry route by Dorset County Council.
The result? HGVs keep getting stuck, causing damage to property, endangering local residents and making life harder for all concerned.
In this guest blog, William Kenealy updates us on the campaign.
After signs directing lorries through Melbury Abbas were installed without consultation in June 2016, village residents have recorded over 1,400 jams due to HGVs lasting an average of 27 minutes.
This represents 630 lost hours for unfortunate local motorists, plus the damage the large vehicles continue to inflict on verges, road signs, garden walls and even telephone poles.
During this period, the police had to close the road completely 15 times in order to sort out the blockage.
Unfortunately, our local MP obtained £2.4 million from central government from the National Productivity Fund, which the council, already massively in debt, has used to progress this reckless plan under the guise of ‘Traffic Mitigation’.
The majority of funds have been used to resurface the A350, but the county is also planning to install permanent electric signage directing lorries through the village and even worse to build a lay-by in Melbury Abbas that will turn the village into a shunting yard for lorry traffic.
Following a flawed consultation in June of 2017 where residents were asked 10 ‘yes or no’ questions, on the 6th of December 2017 the Dorset County Cabinet voted to retain the voluntary one-way system (one of six options), despite a weight restriction requested by Police, Emergency Services and Melbury & Cann Parish Council for the village.
Our parish immediately wrote to the county council advising that we reserved the right to proceed to Judicial Review if the 6 December 2017 cabinet decision was not reversed. The letter laid out our position that the decision was flawed due to an improper consultation and due to a lack of duty of care for Melbury Abbas residents.
On the 8th January 2018, the county legal department replied saying that the decision stands. They refused any negotiation and will fight any legal action.
As our parish has exhausted all means available to us to stop the slow destruction of Melbury Abbas, we filed for court review on the 2nd of March 2018.
You can help us with this battle by donating to our campaign here.
Help support the legal challenge here.