Villager’s call to re-route buses

Lincolnshire County Council has said it will work with police to enforce a weight limit through Leadenham after a resident raised concerns about school buses and heavy lorries meeting on the narrow village High Street.

A school bus has to squeeze past a lorry on Leadenham High Street. EMN-210719-190520001

Martyn Everett, who lives on the High Street, says buses taking children to and from Sir William Robertson Academy should not be directed through the village, where they sometimes have to squeeze past other buses or lorries, mounting pavements and endangering pedestrians.

He said all journeys should be diverted via the A17 bypass, avoiding the narrow streets. He insists the High Street is protected by a weight limit which is being breached by heavy vehicles, endangering pedestrians and properties.

Mr Everett said: “Over three years ago, as the result of seeing and photographing school buses consistently driving along the narrow pavement on Leadenham High Street to avoid oncoming traffic, I raised the safety issue of school buses with Sir William Robertson Academy and subsequently Lincolnshire County Council. A footpath, used by pupils attending the local junior school, emerges onto the same pavement that school buses were driving along. Vision is very limited.

“The narrow High Street, with three right angled bends, formed part of the A17 trunk road until 1995 when a bypass was built to divert traffic away from the High Street, especially Heavy Goods Vehicles.

“There is no valid reason that school buses cannot use this bypass.

“Prior to the bypass, heavy lorries crashed into the dining room of the George Hotel on one of these bends. School buses now cross over to the other side of the road to negotiate this same bend.”

He states that in 2007 the High Street and Newark Road, which connects to the A17, had a weight limit placed on them banning vehicles over 7.5 tonnes from passing through unless service buses picking up and dropping off.

Mr Everett said: “School buses now compete for road space with Heavy Goods Vehicles, who are contravening the Weight Restriction Order, and around 50 a day legitimate agriculture tractors.”

He has written to the Local Government Ombudsman and now Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling for support.

Coun Richard Davies, executive member for highways at Lincolnshire County Council, said bus operators have chosen to only use this route when they have pupils on board.

“If other vehicles above the weight restriction are accessing the High Street, we’ll work with our colleagues in the police to address this, and we’re improving the signage in the area to reinforce the message to drivers.”

Local county councillor Marianne Overton said around 30 buses bring over a thousand children every day to Sir William Robertson Academy. Children on buses coming from the Newark area use the A17, come up through Leadenham using the wider section of the High Street, where they turn left along the A607 and on to school.

“Mr Everett is asking for the children to be detoured further along the A17, up to the Sleaford end, then back down the narrow winding C308 to the Leadenham lights.

“The experts see that top route as more dangerous than using the junction below the hill, particularly when they have to cut across the A17 on their way home.”

She said weight limit signs have been reinstated barring use of the narrow part of the High Street by HGVs or buses.