Danger and Damage: Swanscombe Residents Fear for Safety as HGVs Ignore Diversion

Concerns over the safety of residents in Swanscombe have been raised as drivers continue to ignore a diversion set up after a landslide on the A226 Galley Hill Road last year. According to reports, HGVs are using narrow side streets to avoid the designated route, causing damage to parked cars and potential danger to pedestrians.

Rae Bottomley, a local resident, recently experienced the consequences of this situation when her parked car was struck by a Hungarian truck. She fears that it may be written off by her insurance company and is worried about the safety of others in the community. She stated, “We’ve all been saying that something’s going to happen, that someone’s going to get run over.”

Bottomley’s concerns are not unfounded. Other residents have also reported damage to their vehicles caused by HGVs, with one neighbor’s van being hit and the driver fleeing the scene. Graham Taylor, a member of the Swanscombe and Greenhithe Residents’ Association, confirms that there are regular incidents of lorries causing damage in the area. He believes that the nearby lorry parks are exacerbating the problem and suggests implementing height restrictions to prevent larger vehicles from using the residential streets.

Local authorities are aware of the issue and have taken some action, such as putting up signs to deter drivers from using the side streets. However, residents claim that these measures are not effective and are calling for more creative solutions to restrict traffic flow. Cllr Claire Pearce of Dartford council agrees, stating that “there needs to be more restrictions in place at both ends just to make sure they’re not coming through a residential area.”

Last week, a lorry became stuck in a nearby park after taking a wrong turn on the diversion route. This incident, captured on camera, highlights the potential danger to children and families in the community. Police are working with Kent County Council to explore ways to prevent these incidents from occurring. They are also encouraging residents and business owners to report any suspected offenses and have contacted freight operators to ensure their drivers are aware of the restrictions.

In response to these concerns, a spokesperson for KCC stated that they are aware of the issue and will be ensuring clearer signage is in place. They will continue to work with partners to find a solution to the problem. The lorry company involved in the recent incident declined to comment.

Residents in Swanscombe are calling for action to be taken before someone is seriously injured. They hope that local authorities will work together to find a long-term solution to prevent HGVs from using the residential streets and putting the safety of residents at risk.

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