Traffic diversions in Potton – the effect on Bull Street

Central Bedfordshire Council recently received a request for a road closure within Potton in order for a roof to be replaced on Sun Street.

As a result, traffic has been diverted out of the town centre.

I was made aware of this proposal less than 24 hours before the diversion came into place; I publicised it on Twitter the same afternoon.

The following morning I was made aware of traffic driving the wrong way up Bull Street and HGVs using this narrow street as a cut-through.

I made officers at Central Beds and employees of their Highways contractor, Amey, aware that the safety measures they were taking were insufficient.

They acknowledged the problems were happening and pledged to try and ensure diversions were correctly-used and to limit access to Chapel Street.  They added someone would be on-site the following day to deal with the third party contractors, A-Plant.

On Friday I was told by a resident of Bull Street that damage had been caused to his house that morning, by an HGV which had not stopped.

I sent another communication to Central Beds and their Highways contractor, this time copying in the Chief Executive of the council and our MP, Alistair Burt.

My email can be read below and, I hope, shows the strength of my feelings on the matter.

The response I received acknowledged Amey felt they could do not more to prevent the issues on Bull Street, stating “From the Market Square direction there is No Entry and vehicles are not directed there other than by Sat Navs so I cannot control this but by moving the closure the other side of Chapel St we will not get HGV’s using Bull Street from that direction. That said other vehicles are entitled to. The gateman will turn back HGV’s as he said he was going to do today from his current position.”

They also commented that the closure sign would be moved further west from Blackbird Street to the eastern end of Station Road “so vehicles have to turn right towards Biggleswade. This will be manned over the weekend” and added they hoped the work would be completed between Sunday and Wednesday.

On Saturday morning I observed the change mentioned, had been made. A man was sitting in the vehicle engrossed in his newspaper. He made no attempt to stop a truck driving past heading towards Market Square. When the truck reached the full road closure on Sun Street, it had to turn round and head back towards  Biggleswade.

Over the weekend traffic has carried on a using Bull Street the wrong way, often at great speed, and I have had further complaints the ‘watchman’ has been spotted paying less than full attention to events around him.

I will be reporting this to Central Beds and Amey on Monday.

To the best of my knowledge the resident responsible for the application, and the builders carrying out the work have behaved correctly at every stage.

Adam Zerny

The email below is the one I sent to Central Beds on Friday afternoon:

—–Original Message—–

From: Cllr Adam Zerny

Sent: 05 April 2013 12:06

Subject: RE: CBC4814 Sun Street, Potton – EMERGENCY CLOSURE – URGENT – URGENT

The steps you are taking are not working.

I have just received an email from a resident of Bull Street telling me: “I am stuck at home today. So far this morning, 4 large, high-sided lorries have come down Bull Street and had difficulty getting past our houses. One just made a loud bang as it drove back off the pavement, but didn’t hit anything. I hear number 5 passing as I write! – that was up on the pavement on our side too.”

This is the latest in a long line of concerns raised, all of which you are aware of.

It’s bad enough that we are two years on from when the issue of damage to buildings on Bull Street was first raised, and seemingly no closer to resolution but for a route diversion to take place like this without adequate precautions is totally unacceptable.

Residents have been told this diversion may be in place until 13th April.

It’s day three and as you are aware we have already had:

  • Large numbers of HGVs using Bull Street
  • Near collisions with vehicles driving the wrong way down Bull Street.
  • HGVs hitting buildings
  • Motorists moving diversion signs
  • Cars arriving in Market Square with no idea where to go because there are no signs on the approach from Gamlingay

I’m afraid it is just not good enough to say you are doing everything you can. It’s clearly not enough.
I await your response.