Owl LOVES the comment from the DCC officer: ““I know this is not a popular thing to suggest, but the people who bought the houses bought them in full knowledge of the layby” but Owl thinks they expected the LORRIES to be laid by, not ladies being laid by lorry drivers!
“Two laybys that lorry drivers are using to ‘entertain’ female companions will be closed.
The laybys, right in the middle of Cranbrook, are also being used a public toilet, for boy racers to congregate and play loud music and swear, and the proximity to houses mean that lorry drivers can see into homes from their cabs.
Unanimous agreement was given by councillors to close the laybys and for Devon County Council’s Highways officers to come up with a solution.
Cllr Ray Bloxham, who brought the proposal to Friday’s East Devon Highways and Traffic Orders Committee, said that the laybys used to be in a rural location but now are right in the middle of Cranbrook, and homes are now located immediately adjacent to the laybys.
He said: “The two laybys in question are now principally used by HGVs for overnight parking as a free car park. This results in considerable disturbance to adjacent households and there have been a series of complaints about noise disturbance especially overnight from refrigerated units and from engines being started and left running during the early hours. There have been ancillary complaints about anti-social behaviour by drivers using the hedgerow as a toilet and other unpleasant behaviours.
“The complaints by local residents have been referred to both Environmental Health at East Devon District Council and to Highways, and the only solution that was put forward and supported by highways department was to close the laybys.”
He added that there was organised lorry parking less than a mile away in Clyst Honiton, but there is a fee for it, so they prefer to park for free.
A resident of Roman Way, which is just 15m away over a hedge from the layby, said that they are facing anti-social behaviour ‘night and day’.
She said: “There are privacy issues as from their cabs, they can see into our residences, while the anti-social behaviour is disturbing out sleep. One lorry driver ‘entertained’ a female companion in his cab overnight and she left at 5.30am in the morning – this is the kind of behaviour we want to end.
“Some of the drivers urinate and use the hedge as a toilet, and they leave litter there which attracts vermin, and at night you get boy racers there and they play music and swear loudly.
“It is a real nuisance and causes health risks to us and our children. It doesn’t support the healthy town concept and for us as residents, the issues are very real. If you lived in our home and had this every day and night, you would realise the issues that we are facing at the moment.”
Mike Jones, Senior Devon County Council Traffic Officer, said that the laybys were on the road so lorry drivers do have a place to stop. He added that the road is a diversion route for the A30 and the road does need marshalling facilities and laybys are a useful thing to have, before saying: “I know this is not a popular thing to suggest, but the people who bought the houses bought them in full knowledge of the layby.”
But Cllr Richard Scott said that was an inappropriate argument to make, as it would be the same as saying if you bought a house next to a field, then it could never be built on. He said that if that argument was used, then Cranbrook itself would never have been built.
Cllr Phil Twiss said that he fully supported the laybys being closed to vehicles, but said that as a cyclist who used the road, those laybys are a handy little refuge to stop and have a drink or check tyres. He said: “I agree that we should close them, but officers need to go away and come up with a practical solution.”
The East Devon HATOC unanimously agreed that the two laybys, located on opposite sides of the highway alongside the B3174 at Cranbrook, approximately 100m west of Parsons Lane, be closed to vehicular use, either by the introduction of a Traffic Regulation Order, or a different solution that the highways department could identify which meant moving the kerb line.”