Safety fears spark bridge action plan

Bridge Too Far - Kath Hollis, Peter Woolhouse, Geoff Gee and Steve Coates of the Bridge In Action protest group are hoping to prevent heavy goods vehicles from using the historic bridge at Darley Bridge.
Bridge Too Far - Kath Hollis, Peter Woolhouse, Geoff Gee and Steve Coates of the Bridge In Action protest group are hoping to prevent heavy goods vehicles from using the historic bridge at Darley Bridge.
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Village campaigners have formed an action group – to renew an appeal for a by-pass road.

Residents in Darley Bridge and South Darley say they face constant delays and disruption caused by articulated lorries getting stuck on the narrow lane.

Safety fears have now prompted villagers to join forces and form campaign group, Bridge In Action.

Chair of the group Geoff Gee said: “We hope the group will continue for many years to come, not only dealing with issues of concern but also bringing the community together.”

Residents fear the 200-year-old road system can not cope with the increased use of heavy goods vehicles, partly due to the expansion of local businesses, and many lorries have become wedged on the historic bridge in recent months.

Other issues include speeding, congestion, potholes, walls being demolished, damage to pavements and flooding.

Mr Gee added: “It all boils down to safety in the end. There have been a couple of near misses involving children and it was this that sparked me off to get a group together.”

Around three years ago villagers ran an appeal to call for a by-pass to be built by the cricket ground at Darley Bridge and the campaign is gaining weight again following a rise in accidents.

District councillor for the area, Colin Swindell, called a public meeting to discuss concerns and a list of ideas – including traffic lights and HGV warning signs – has been presented to the county council.

Cllr Swindell said campaigners, highways officers and Enthovens bosses were set to meet to talk about the possibility of creating an access road from the Square and Compass pub to the factory.

He added: “Nobody has got a problem with the factory at all but residents just feel the small village is not suitable for lorries of this size.”

A spokesman for Derbyshire County Council said: “We will always consider requests from the public but it’s difficult to see, particularly in the current financial climate, where the money would come from for a by-pass.”

The council carried out repair works and debris removal at Darley Bridge on Sunday, following flooding earlier this month, and further work will be carried out this Sunday when the bridge will be closed between 6am and noon. A diversion will be in place A6 and B5057.