Row over number of HGVs on Wigan roads after removal of controversial barrier

Town hall bosses have denied more lorries are travelling through a Wigan township - despite complaints from residents.

Friday, 15th May 2020, 7:00 am
The barrier that once stood on Walthew House Lane

People living in Orrell say more large vehicles are driving along their roads since a barrier in Kitt Green was removed last year to provide a link between Spring Road and Walthew House Lane, to Martland Mill Business Park.

It was prompted by reports drivers were posing a risk by using narrow residential streets to reverse after reaching the barrier.

But concerns were raised at the time that it would add to congestion in Orrell.

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Resident Geoff Dickinson described the number of HGVs now using Gathurst Road as “totally unreasonable for a predominantly residential area”.

He said: “At the time the barrier removal was proposed in August 2016, the council appeared to offer a consultation process. That resulted in an overwhelming number of objections from Orrell residents. That vote was then ignored by the council regulation committee, who in July 2018 voted to remove the barrier.

“And the really objectionable thing, apart from the noise, vibration and diesel fumes, is that the justification for the barrier removal was ‘to divert traffic away from residential roads, and to improve traffic flow and highway safety’.

“And the really annoying thing is that the council do not accept that there has been any increase in HGV traffic through Orrell as a result of removing the barrier.”

He said he counted 32 lorries in just 45 minutes one morning and 26 at the same time the following day.

Coun Michael Winstanley, who represents Orrell, said: “This problem has got significantly worse since the removal of the barrier at Walthew House Lane and everything that I pointed out at the time of the decision is coming true, with a massive increase in traffic being seen in Orrell.

“The council say that the situation has improved on Kitt Green Road. I find that approach insulting to the residents of Orrell. Making something better for one group of residents at the expense of another isn’t acceptable.

“I have asked the council to come up with a solution that caters for both sets of residents. I am extremely concerned that a serious accident will occur.”

A Wigan Council spokesman said: “We have no reason to believe that HGV flows have increased significantly recently through Orrell as a result of the removal of the barrier on Walthew House Lane.

“A traffic volume survey in June 2019 showed an average two-way daily flow of 161 HGVs and buses travelling along Walthew House Lane.

“A corresponding five-day average (Mon–Fri) for the morning peak hour flow was 195 vehicles, and the average afternoon peak hour flow was 226 vehicles. This equates to an average of three or four vehicles per minute. These are low flows compared to other similar roads throughout the borough.

“Before the removal of the barrier, Transport for Greater Manchester evaluated the effects the changes could have on Orrell Road, Gathurst Road and Spring Road. This evaluation reported low level of increased traffic, causing minimal impact.”

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