Lorry Incident in Chandos Street – A Wake Up Call

The Hicks LorryThe week started badly for one Welsh lorry driver as he was sent down to Bridgwater from Newport to deliver office furniture to Somerset County Council, who are in the process of moving into Bridgwater House. At about 7.30 he was trying to get to his first drop and, presumably following the postcode on his sat nav, tried to get to Kings Square via Bond street and Chandos street. Of course impossible for a vehicle of his size. So he tried to get out by reversing and turning into the car park of Homecastle House. And that’s where things went really wrong.

The lorry was too big, the turning point too blind, ‘whap’ went a telegraph pole and ‘boing’ went the telephone wire from high, pulling with it masonry from the opposite house, sending bricks cascading down into the neighbour’s garden and the phone wire dangling precariously across the road at car roof height.

Off went the lorry to continue with his delivery to Sedgemoor the sensible way (via Mount street) and it was left to Karen Llewellyn at Homecastle House to sort it out. Calling up Westover councillor Brian Smedley, they set about diverting traffic and trying to get the Police, Somerset Highways, BT and Sedgemoor to take an interest. Eventually the Highways people came and closed the road (at about 10.30) and BT had got round to fix the wire at about 1130. Sedgemoor building control were summonsed to the scene and took further action.Rob Gary commented, “I have been dealing with the repercussions of an incident this morning where the hitting of a telegraph pole and phone line by a lorry has resulted in a dangerous structure at a Chandos street address. The Council is using emergency powers under the Building Act 1984 to remove the danger of loose brickwork from the gable end where the telephone wire was detached, this will result in the Council seeking to recoup costs of this work. The Council will leave the gable end of the premise in safe manor but will only be temporary covered. It is then the owners responsibility to maintain their property.”

Urged action

Chandos Street IncidentCllr Smedley wrote to Allison Griffin, Sedgemoors officer in charge of the forthcoming Pedestrianisation, which has already caused controversy with revelations of 2 way traffic, and urged action.

“It is with great concern that I write to you of an incident this morning 14 oct approx 07.30am. A lorry delivering to SCC c/o SDC King square was stuck in Chandos street/Bond st and whilst trying a 20 point turn to reverse out reversed into a telegraph pole on the corner by Homecastle House. In doing so the phone wire to the house across the road (Mr David Wilcox) was stretched, pulled out bricks which cascaded into the next door garden of Mrs Loder and left a wire dangerously hanging at car roof height for over 2 hours before Highways eventually responded…..it is clear that with SCC and SDC having a postal address on King Square, vehicles are going to try to sat nav in down improbable streets – such as Bond st and Chandos st. This will be made worse when 2 way traffic is introduced to West Quay. Can I ask that you and Highways urgently look into resolving this. In particular, signage, one directional traffic flow and re-classification of sat nav address.”

The vehicle in question was KEO7BYB from Hicks Transport of Newport. The whole incident was recorded on Homecastle House CCTV by Karen Llewellyn.

Get it right

Brian Smedley said afterwards, “We’re on countdown to pedestrianisation now and they have to get it right. This incident shows the dangers of making the wrong decisions. West Quay needs to be made an attractive business and pedestrian thoroughfare and SDC needs to enable that. The residents in the historical neighbourhood of Castle street need to be protected from encroachments by ridiculous traffic movements such as lorries of this size and an element of resident parking needs to be included. Control and regulation of traffic flow is crucial to this with adequate directional signing and definitely NO two-way traffic. The lorry incident this morning could easily be repeated daily on the proposed 2-way spur of West Quay with vehicles mounting pavements, hitting parked vehicles and at worse pedestrians. This is a wake up call to Highways and Sedgemoor to get this right in the next couple of weeks!”