Villagers' despair as sat-nav trucks get stuck
Fed-up villagers are stepping up a fight to stop foreign lorry drivers getting lost and wreaking havoc in the narrow lanes near their homes.
For the past year heavy goods vehicles from Europe have been causing headaches for the people of Colerne, Wiltshire, as they follow incorrect sat-nav directions that cause them to take wrong turns and get stuck, blocking roads around the village.
They are en route to deliver goods to Colerne's airfield, where hangars are being used as a storage site for 500,000 pallets. But residents have been calling for urgent action and although they say the problems have improved, they believe more needs to be done to tackle the problem.
Russell Harding, who lives in the village, recently photographed a lorry which was stuck for four hours after driving up a single-lane, unclassified road.
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He said: "The lorries come up the most inappropriate roads and we are a small village so if they come in from all directions it causes problems.
"They have been told to come up Bannerdown Hill and, as along as they don't meet another one coming down, it's a good idea.
"However, I think the only long-term solution for us is for the airfield to be used for something else."
The company which owns the airfield, Tolladine Estates, is in consultation with villagers about possible future uses for the site, including developing homes and offices in live-to-work units.
However, the parish council believes immediate action needs to be taken, including new signs directing lorries to the most appropriate routes.
Councillor Mary Harvey said: "I don't think the situation has changed in the past six months and I am afraid it is going to be ongoing. Wiltshire County Council has told us it is making signs but I don't think anything is going to happen. If it does eventually sort them, they need to be large enough and visible for lorry drivers to see them."
At the beginning of December Chep, the pallet company leasing the airfield, published a public notice explaining to villagers how it was trying to solve the problem and a contact number for people with concerns. It said the company had given maps and directions to contractors so drivers used the right routes and would be looking to fine anyone who went the wrong way.
A spokesman for Chep said he believed the situation had been getting better.
He said: "As far as we are aware things are improving, although there still may be the odd lorry getting lost and that is of great concern to us.
"I am not saying it is perfect, there will still be problems, but we are taking it seriously and if anybody has concerns then they should contact us."
A spokesman for the county council said it was still waiting to hear back from government transport officials for permission to put up the signs. He said: "We are still aware of the issue and will be putting up signs as soon as we possibly can."
One incident several months ago saw three Dutch lorries causing chaos near the primary school when they all reversed at the same time.