Belfast Telegraph

Sooner or later, somebody would have died to save a driver a few minutes or a haulier a few pounds

By Eddie Parks

Hillsborough residents are delighted at the proposal to restrict vehicles over 7.5 tons from the village. This is a conservation area where all the houses date from the late 1700s and are built - as they all were at that period - without foundations. Every time a large lorry passes our door the whole house shakes and at times conversation is impossible.

Not so long ago we set out to count the number of HGVs passing by. Between 6.30am and 8am we counted 90 large lorries going up the Hill. We spent some time talking to haulage companies and, as a result, Mulgrew and PRM both agreed to stop their drivers using the village as a rat-run away from the A1. This has been a great help and we are very grateful to them. It also demonstrates that other companies could easily do the same. But we are still plagued with huge lorries that travel through the village for no other reason than to save a few minutes on their journeys.

At times the volume of traffic passing through Hillsborough is such that it is impossible to safely cross the road. There is, believe it or not, not a single pedestrian crossing in the town and villagers believe that it is only a matter of time before there is a pedestrian fatality on Lisburn or Main Street.

Traffic density means that large vehicles often have to mount the pavement in order to maintain a two-way flow of traffic. I have frequently seen young mothers with buggies forced to walk in the roadway because pavements are blocked.

The vast majority of heavy vehicles using the village are doing so not because they have to but because it is convenient. Sooner or later someone will die to save a driver a few minutes or a haulier a few pounds and that is unacceptable.

Finally we are all hugely grateful to our MLA, Brenda Hale, who has driven this proposal forward in the face of inexplicable intransigence.

  • Eddie Parks is a Hillsborough resident and journalist, and former BBC presenter on Radio Guernsey

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