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'Lorries fly down the hill then have to slam on the brakes'

By Cate McCurry

Published 03/02/2016

Lorries over 7.5 tonnes will soon be banned from Hillsborough’s narrow streets
Lorries over 7.5 tonnes will soon be banned from Hillsborough’s narrow streets
Brenda Bradford

The quiet reaction to the news that lorries will be banned from one of Northern Ireland's most picturesque villages stood in stark contrast to the thundering traffic disrupting the rural tranquility.

Opinion was more mixed than might be expected after the successful campaign to drive trucks out of Hillsborough, with most villagers preferring to stay tight-lipped or giving a guarded welcome to the decision.

It was clear that some were concerned about the economic impact on the historic village.

Other said officials should have considered alternative ways to reduce congestion in the area.

Situated close to Lisburn, the village centre contains significant Georgian architecture, as well as the Queen's official residence in Northern Ireland, Hillsborough Castle.

Residents had claimed the village's streets often shudder to the sound of heavy goods vehicles taking a short-cut.

Local professional dry cleaner, Brenda Bradford, who works at The Laundry Room, was among the few who welcomed the change in legislation.

"The lorries fly down that road. There are cars parked on a corner at the bottom of the hill and the street is so narrow that the lorries have to slam on the brakes," she said. "This is the best decision for my safety and other people's safety too.

"There's also a fold right on the corner, so there's quite a few elderly people around and they would find it quite scary.

"The volume of traffic, never mind lorries, is dire. It's a really busy place.

"Customers have told me that the traffic would put them off coming out in their cars or even walking about."

Geoff Gowan, who lives in the village, said the traffic congestion left the area a "very dangerous place".

He added: "You have the school at Ballynahinch Street that causes a lot of traffic, so they had to deflect a lot of big lorries coming in from the countryside in to the village."

"Primarily I think it's a good thing if they want to do that for the village. I wouldn't want to take away from someone's employment though," he said.

"There's always congestion at the bottom of the hill, it's very dangerous."

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