One of the main talking points among villagers this month seems to be the problem of heavy goods vehicles using local roads and lanes.
In Alvechurch there’s the extra lorry traffic from the railway improvement project, which has caused damage to surfaces and necessitated road closures, and the ongoing complaints about early-morning deliveries to the Co-op.
Meanwhile, just outside the village centre there are mounting concerns about lorries coming in and out of the county council depot at Lye Bridge at all hours.
Rowney Green residents have also been affected by HGVs in recent months, and we vividly recall the day a lorry got wedged on the bridge on Callow Hill.
And of course, Lickey and Marlbrook residents had to put up with 12 years of lorries going to and from the infamous tip, with local authorities apparently powerless to stop them.
Alvechurch Parish Council, faced with a deputation of irate Lye Bridge residents who claim that heavy lorries are trundling past their homes at the most unsuitable times, has agreed to take up the cudgels on their behalf, and investigate whether the depot is breaching the rules.
And of course, the railway work and associated traffic problems will be over in another couple of months.
But these are only two examples of a wider issue – some people are asking if there is a case for stopping HGVs from driving through our villages at all.
Some residents have asked why these lorries are not using the bypass, which after all was created in order to keep Alvechurch free from heavy traffic. But that’s not going to work in all cases, as some HGVs do have to make deliveries to businesses located in the villages and lanes.
Although many of us have chosen to live in the villages due to their supposedly peaceful environment, we do have to accept that we’re not living in a sealed bubble.
For us to enjoy the convenience of a supermarket in our villages, the produce on their shelves has to get here somehow – and if we want our roads gritted in the icy weather, it makes sense for the grit to be collected from a depot on our doorstep.
However, that doesn’t mean that HGVs should come through the villages on non-essential journeys, and it’s not right that residents are having to put up with excessive noise in the early mornings, late evenings and weekends.
Let’s hope that by opening dialogue with the Lye Bridge depot and the Co-op, some sort of compromise can be reached so that villagers, business owners and HGV drivers can co-exist in harmony.
* On a more positive note, we hope you’re enjoying our August “Picture Special” edition, which highlights just how many wonderful events go on in our villages and help to foster a real sense of community.
Have a great summer!