MP demands review of East Harling road hierarchy amid safety fears

Valentines corner at East Harling. Villagers have called for a traffic review with all the HGV's going through.

Valentines corner at East Harling. Villagers have called for a traffic review with all the HGV's going through.

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An MP has demanded a comprehensive review of roads in Norfolk amid fears from Harling residents that injury or damage could occur if the issues are left unchecked.

Elizabeth Truss, who represents South West Norfolk, called on Norfolk County Council to conduct an evaluation of the county’s route hierarchy, after attending a meeting in East Harling to assess the impact of heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) on the village.

Concerns have been expressed by villagers regarding the tight corners and narrow lanes being unsuitable for HGVs, with locations such as Valentines Corner suffering regular damage as a result of HGVs striking the bollards.

During her visit to the village, Ms Truss said: “This is an issue affecting not just South West Norfolk but the county as a whole.

“The ability of the local roads to cope with today’s movements of HGVs travelling through villages must be looked at.”

She described the situation in East Harling as “extremely dangerous and worrying” for pedestrians and other vehicles, and added she was committed to pressuring the county council to address the issue.

Cllr Ellen Jolly, Breckland Council representative for Harling, echoed Ms Truss’ worries, stating: “All who live in the village, especially the elderly and parents with young children, are hugely at risk. We have been led to believe nothing will happen until there is a fatality.”

The route hierarchy, which categorises roads based on their functions and capacities, was first established for Norfolk in the 1980s and is said to have been completed around the year 2000.

Cllr Philip Edge, chairman of Harling Parish Council, said the parish fully supported the MP’s efforts, stating there should be a focus on preventing a serious incident rather than waiting to act until after one happens.

He told the Diss Express: “As a parish council we are concerned about the environment we live in.

“It’s the sheer volume of vehicles that are causing all sorts of problems. We know we can never get rid of them all, but hopefully we can at least cut the numbers down.”

A Norfolk County Council spokesperson indicated a fresh review would be possible, but it would be dependent on funding being available and would have to compete with many other priorities across the county.

The county council’s statement read: “There have been safety schemes implemented in East Harling to assist with road safety concerns. When trends are spotted they guide our spending on road improvements to those locations most in need.”