Guardians of a conservation village with links to the Magna Carta have appealed to authorities to accelerate action to stop up to 70 HGV drivers a day ignoring a lorry ban, damaging historic buildings and making residents lives a misery.
Topcliffe Parish Council has issued a call for action saying increasing numbers of trucks heading to and from the nearby Dalton Industrial Estate had made it dangerous for pedestrians in the village south of Thirsk, while also destroying footpaths.
Councillor Jamie Moores, the council’s chairman, said listed buildings such as The Old Toll Booth – where a ransom was said to have been paid for Charles I – have been badly damaged by large vehicles.
He said many residents of the village and neighbouring Asenby had reported vibration damage in properties due to passing lorries, which have been barred from the village since 1999.
The parish council has provided authorities with film of 1,000 lorries potentially breaking the ban, but only one driver has so far been successfully prosecuted by Trading Standards, while North Yorkshire Police have cited a lack of resources to enforce the 7.5-tonne vehicle ban.
Coun Moores said with the expected expansion of the industrial estate residents feared unless effective enforcement action was taken their quality of life would deteriorate further.
He said: “Drivers continue to break the law because they are well aware the chances of being caught and prosecuted are virtually nil. All consistently agree the level of enforcement is woefully inadequate.”
Hambleton District Council leader Councillor Mark Robson said he was optimistic nearly £120,000 of funding secured from the developers of an extension to the industrial estate for use to provide ANPR cameras, signage and monitoring could make a significant difference.
He said: “North Yorkshire highways have said the signs will take three months to make and they could go in within a further three to six months, but the issue with Highways England is their signs on the A168 could take up to two and a half years, and all the signs need to be aligned.
“I’m not sure we are going to get a result for Topcliffe as soon as we would like it to be.”
North Yorkshire County Council highways department has confirmed design work and discussions are ongoing over signage improvements and that £45,000 is available for improvements alongside £50,000 to monitor alleged breaches of the approved routing plan.
A senior highways officer added: “Whilst signage improvements have been designed for all approaches to the restriction the majority of the signage improvements are required on the National Highways/Autolink network.
“Officers are liaising direct with Autolink colleagues to see how best the improvements can be implemented on their network. The funding is limited and from experience the cost of erecting signage on the trunk road network far exceeds the costs on the local network.”